IBMs Mills Takes Jabs at Ellison

Steve Mills, the senior vice president and group executive of IBM's Software Group, left attendees at IBM's Integration Media Day with little doubt of where he stood on Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's tactics.

NEW YORK—Officially, Steve Mills declined to comment on Oracles hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft, a move that could put two of IBMs key application software vendor partners under control of one of its chief competitors.

But Mills, the senior vice president and group executive of IBMs Software Group, left attendees at IBMs Integration Media Day here Tuesday with little doubt of where he stood on Oracle CEO Larry Ellisons tactics.

"Im not going to comment on whats going on," said Mills. "But clearly our relationship with PeopleSoft is a strong one. We have a relationship with Oracle too, but theyre more of a competitor than a partner. So you can draw your own conclusions."

Mills took potshots at Ellisons stated plans to discontinue development of PeopleSoft applications post-acquisition and more broadly, Oracles strategy to get enterprises to standardize on all of its applications, pointing out that Ellison was much more open to application integration when the only applications Oracle had were its financials.

"If all you have is a hammer, you think everythings a nail," said Mills.

"Their applications touch a low minimal percentage of all business processes," he said, stressing enterprises needs for other applications besides Oracles.

Dan Vaught, middleware manager for Safelite Glass Corp., backed up Mills assertions. Safelite uses Oracle for many of its applications including purchasing, procurement, warehouse management, billing and financials. But Safelite turned to software from Siebel Systems Inc. for order management and Baan for scheduling, because those vendors applications were a much better fit for Safelites needs than competitive offerings from Oracle.

"Oracle didnt meet our needs for scheduling," said Vaught. "If we cant get a [auto glass repair] technician scheduled and sent to dispatch, our business is gone."