Waiting on Oracle

Former J.D. Edwards customers, who've weathered a sometimes bumpy transition to becoming PeopleSoft customers, are now waiting to see if they'll have to go through the whole process again with Oracle.

Former J.D. Edwards & Co. customers, whove weathered a sometimes bumpy transition to becoming PeopleSoft Inc. customers, are now waiting to see if theyll have to go through the whole process again if Oracle Corp. succeeds in its hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft.

And its the waiting thats the hardest part, as customers put new development plans on hold to see where theyll end up—remaining PeopleSoft customers, becoming Oracle customers or becoming customers of another software company, should Oracle choose to spin off the old J.D. Edwards business to a third party.

"I cant say that wed be looking forward to another change, but it would be better than the turmoil of the last few months, where we dont know where were going to end up," said Fred Pond, director of IS for Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc., of Portland, Ore., a PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne, former J.D. Edwards OneWorld customer.

"We have to have a decision, whether were going to Oracle or not, and let it be final. Right now, were stuck in this middle ground," Pond said.

Publicly, Oracle has committed to supporting all PeopleSoft applications, including the former J.D. Edwards product lines, for at least 10 years if it succeeds in acquiring PeopleSoft. An Oracle spokesperson maintained that position last week.

/zimages/3/28571.gifLegal analysts see only a few remaining obstacles to Oracles takeover bid. Click here to read more.

But since Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., announced its plan to buy PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., in June 2003, industry watchers have speculated that the former J.D. Edwards customer base, the majority of which is on IBMs DB2 database, could get spun off elsewhere. Previous media reports indicated that Chicago-based SSA Global Technologies Inc. is a likely suitor for the former J.D. Edwards business.

SSA has purchased nine companies since April 2001, including Computer Associates International Inc.s InterBiz product group; Infinium Software Inc.; Baan Co.; and, in July, Marcam Solutions Inc. An SSA spokesperson declined to comment on the companys interest in a side deal with Oracle, citing the quiet period SSA is in after recently filing an S-1 form for an initial public offering.

Pond said hed rather end up with Oracle, which he felt was more likely to provide a long-term migration path on top of the 10-year support the company has promised so far. "But if we could get that 10-year commitment from SSA, we could work that into our own plans," he said. "Over a 10-year period, a million things are going to change."

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