Oracle revises PeopleSoft intentions

At its user conference yesterday, Oracle continued to send out mixed messages about how it will support PeopleSoft products if it...

At its user conference yesterday, Oracle continued to send out mixed messages about how it will support PeopleSoft products if it succeeds in its $9.2bn (£4.8bn) takeover bid for its rival.

Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison was reassuring when the issue came up at a question and answer session with attendees at the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. "We're going to over-support the PeopleSoft customers," he said. "We intend to finish PeopleSoft 9, and we're going to do as good a job on that as we know how."

But after PeopleSoft 9, he said that Oracle would build a functionally merged product - contradicting the comments of Oracle president Charles Phillips on Monday that, "Customers can expect two separate applications tracks." Phillips said Oracle would never merge the PeopleSoft and Oracle code bases.

Ellison made clear he was discussing long-term plans. "It won't happen overnight," he said. But the clashing statements indicate how hazy the future is for PeopleSoft users if the supplier is purchased by its bitter rival. 

Oracle executives have repeatedly expressed confidence in the technical superiority of their software. Customers who upgraded, post-acquisition, to the Oracle-built successor to PeopleSoft's applications would get "a dramatically better product," Ellison said.

"We're going to invest more in the applications than Oracle or PeopleSoft could have done alone," he said. "We're going to give SAP a run for their money in this business. To do that, we need more customers and more engineers."

Stacy Cowley writes for IDG News Service

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