ANAHEIM, Calif.—PeopleSoft Inc. President and CEO Craig Conway took to the stage for his opening keynote address at PeopleSofts Connect conference here walking his black lab, Abbie, both of them wearing bulletproof vests.
The entrance was a joke in reference to a quote made by Oracle Corp. Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison in July that if he had one bullet, hed shoot Conway, not his dog, after Conway had compared Oracle buying PeopleSoft to buying a dog just to shoot it.
“Have you noticed how often Larry Ellison changes his mind?” Conway asked to uproarious laughter. “First he said he would discontinue our applications and lay off our employees, then he said he wouldnt. First he said hed shoot my dog, then he said hed shoot me. Abby and I arent taking any chances.”
But by the end of his speech, all joking was set aside as Conway reserved his final praise and thanks to PeopleSoft customers who have continued buying PeopleSoft software despite the company being in limbo trying to stave off Oracles hostile takeover bid.
“Oracle failed not because of our management team or our attorneys or our board of directors, but because of you,” Conway told attendees. Conway said the greatest danger to PeopleSoft while defending itself against Oracle was that customers wouldnt go through with their planned purchases of PeopleSoft software.
This was Ellisons intent when he issued his hostile bid for PeopleSoft on June 6, just five days after PeopleSoft announced its intention to buy J.D. Edwards & Co., according to Conway.
“Their tactic … could have worked, but it didnt,” said Conway. “Were grateful to our customers, and we will never forget you,” he said as was drowned out by applause. Last week at OracleWorld, Oracle Executive Vice President Chuck Phillips said his company remains undeterred in its effort to acquire PeopleSoft.
Next page: Conway gives peek at what lies ahead.
Conway also laid out PeopleSofts vision for the year ahead, which includes delivering on the companys Total Ownership Experience (TOE) strategy of improving everything from user interfaces to performance, configuration, installation and integration of PeopleSofts software.
He pledged to deliver on the promises of the J.D. Edwards acquisition and the new capabilities for the midmarket and asset-intensive industries the acquisition would bring to PeopleSoft.
And he formally announced the companys new support strategy that maintains technical support indefinitely across the PeopleSoft 8 and J.D. Edwards product lines while adding an extra year of support for upgrade scripts (from four to five years after general availability) and an extra two years of support (from four to six years after GA) for tax table and regulatory upgrades.
This line also won applause from attendees.
Conway said TOE would enable customers to gain new operation efficiencies by removing “people-intensive” processes from software.
“Every industry matures to the point where youre not just adding new features and functions but improving the ownership experience,” he said.
He called TOE the “next great differentiator” in the industry.
In addition, Conway reaffirmed that the J.D. Edwards acquisition is about “expanding the market not consolidating it” and pointed out that PeopleSoft will now support three separate product lines rather than just consolidate the JDE applications into a single product line with its existing applications.
Conway also took a look back at the past year since the last Connect, recounting how PeopleSoft released 30 new applications and added support for Linux on both the server and the desktop.
“PeopleSoft has always been about giving customers a choice,” he said.