Oracle: Enhanced PeopleSoft Support in the Offing

At its most recent "town hall" meeting, Oracle reiterated its message that, if it acquires PeopleSoft, there where be no forced migration or loss of support.

While PeopleSoft Inc. is hosting its Connect users conference next week in Anaheim, Calif., Oracle Corp. executives will be perched across the street, on the ready to talk one-on-one about its proposed takeover of PeopleSoft.

That was part of the message during Wednesdays Town Hall meeting, hosted by Oracle executive vice presidents Chuck Phillips and Mike Rocha. The other part of the message was that Oracle can provide 24-hour, 7-day-a-week support for PeopleSoft users, at a lower cost to the customer.

This is the second so-called town hall meeting where PeopleSoft customers could lob questions at Oracle, in an effort to ally fears of forced migration or loss of support, should Oracle prove successful in its acquisition plans.

The meeting focused primarily on Oracles planned enhancements to PeopleSofts customer support, with Phillips and Rocha elaborating on the mechanics for a smooth support transition.

Providing a status report on Oracles takeover bid of PeopleSoft, Phillips reiterated several rapid-fire points:

  • Oracle remains fully committed to the acquisition;
  • it will not shut down PeopleSoft products;
  • it will not force PeopleSoft customers to migrate to Oracles E-Business Suite;
  • it will provide dedicated PeopleSoft specialists; and
  • it will extend the time frame for support beyond the time frame PeopleSoft has offered its customers, providing support into the next decade in some instances.

"Larry [Ellison] has been very clear that Oracles intention was always to maintain PeopleSoft [applications]," said Phillips, in Redwood Shores, Calif. "We remain patient and are awaiting appropriate regulatory clearances" to further pursue the takeover.

Phillips reference is to the Department of Justices investigation of the proposed buyout, and whether or not it is anti-competitive. In addition to a second request for information by the DOJ—signaling its not likely to let the takeover bid go unchallenged—more than 30 states are also considering antitrust suits against Oracle.

Wednesdays meeting, however, glossed over those issues.

"Our No. 1 objective is no reduction in availability or support of PeopleSoft products," said Phillips. "We [plan to] extend Version 7.0 for two years and Version 8.0 for at least 10 years, with no forced migration."

At question from the beginning of Oracles acquisition bid has been its intent to acquire PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., and then cease development or support of the product.

PeopleSoft this summer filed suit against Oracle in Alameda County, Calif., and late last month amended it to reflect internal Oracle documents that are meant to prove Oracles intent to quit on PeopleSofts products.

Oracle, for its part, remains adamant that the opposite is true. It used its acquisition of RDB, a database provider, to prove that it can "act professionally" in the acquisition of PeopleSoft.

"We acquired RDB, and today we have 2,000 customers that remain [on RBD]," Rocha said. "Eight thousand customers have chosen to migrate to Oracle, [but the RBD] products continue to be enhanced, and many have moved directly into the Oracle product line."

When the question was asked, ostensibly via e-mail from PeopleSoft customers, why RBD is a relevant comparison, given it was a small database company and PeopleSoft is the second largest enterprise applications provider in the world, Phillips responded that both represent critical functionality for the customer.

"Philosophically, the same principles apply. All systems are running critical support apps, and we plan to support them," Phillips said.

Rocha summarized Oracles bottom line in supporting PeopleSoft customers: "Oracles relentless goal is to drag down overall cost of ownership of PeopleSoft. With Oracle, PeopleSoft will make just one call to solve problems, and that will save money."

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