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Oracle puts in $5.1bn bid for PeopleSoft

Cliff Saran

Oracle has put in a $5.1bn offer for PeopleSoft, just four days after PeopleSoft announced its $1.7bn merger with JD Edwards.

Oracle chairman and chief executive officer Larry Ellison said, "“The acquisition of PeopleSoft will immediately make Oracle an even more profitable and competitive company.”

Worryingly for users, Ellison has no plans to sell PeopleSoft software. “Although we will not be actively selling PeopleSoft products to new customers, we will provide enhanced support for all PeopleSoft products," he said.

Oracle plans to incorporate the features from the PeopleSoft products into future versions of the Oracle eBusiness Suite.

Oracle has been making much recently of the consolidation of the IT supplier community, but the news earlier this week of the PeopleSoft/JD Edwards merger pushed into third place in the market. In terms of revenues at least, it is being nudged from behind by top four debutante SSA Global Technologies and its newly acquired Baan division.

In reality, though, it shares a major strength with SAP over the other players in the top four - it is truly one company with an integrated portfolio of modules where the others are stitched together collections of software brands.

If the merger went ahead, Oracle would extend support for PeopleSoft 7, a product due to end on 31 December. Oracle plans to offer PeopleSoft users a free upgrade to its own E-business applications suite but said users can continue to run their existing PeopleSoft ERP packages if they choose.

Oracle said it would move the PeopleSoft support team into Oracle's much larger support team. According to Oracle, users would benefit from a more complete set of support and a development team of more than 6,000 working both on PeopelSoft and Oracle e-business applications.

Oracle will also offer PeopleSoft users the ability to get remote backup and other hosting options for PeopleSoft applications.

The company continues to push a very simple message - a database-centric architecture running Oracle modules with Linux on Intel as the preferred platform.

The company's latest ERP incarnation, 11i, has had 3,000 users upgrade to it after a number of teething problems, though 10,000 are left to make the switch.

To try and kick-start revenues Oracle has released a handful of new products and put marketing muscle behind others. Its latest offering is its Collaboration Suite - database software that sells for as little as $60 per user and stores e-mail, voicemail, calendar items, and documents in one place. It has also tied up with Sun in an initiative to deliver lower-cost systems.
 


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