Oracle OpenWorld closed on Wednesday with CEO Larry Ellison lifting the covers of the firm's next-generation Fusion applications, but finding the show stolen by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Fusion applications are the result of a four-year project to develop a next-generation suite of software that will act as a unified upgrade for users of Siebel, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and the other applications firms that Oracle has acquired, as well as its home-grown eBusiness Suite.
"It is a big project and we have been working on it for a long time," said Ellison. "Fusion applications are brand new. They are completely architected around a service oriented architecture. Fusion is the only suite of applications built on standards-based middleware. Siebel wasn't, eBusiness Suite wasn't, SAP isn't."
But while the firm ran a demo of the new apps on stage at the OpenWorld conference and Ellison declared them to be "code complete", there was no word on a general release date other than a vague "next year".
The first release will not have all the functionality of the eBusinessSuite, with manufacturing being absent, for example. But there will be new pieces of functionality, such as talent management. There are seven Fusion applications in version one: financial management, human capital management, sales and marketing management, supply chain management, project portfolio, procurement management, and governance, risk and compliance.
Ellison said he did not expect all existing applications customers to move up onto Fusion and repeated his commitment to continue to support current release of the installed products.
"We recognise that our customers have an enormous investment in and commitment to technologies like Siebel and PeopleSoft and JD Edwards. We will remain committed to them for the next decade and beyond that," he said. "We spend $3bn a year on R&D. We can afford to maintain the software you are running today, but also develop the software that you may want to run tomorrow."
While Fusion was intended as the star highlight of Ellison's conference closing keynote, the limelight had to be shared with California governor Arnold Schwarzenneger, who turned up mid-way through the presentation to talk up the US technology industry. In particular, he gave his blessing to the proposed Oracle takeover of Sun Microsystems, calling it "a new partnership" between "two great California success stories, two of the world's great technology giants".