22 October 2003 PeopleSoft customers at the company’s user conference in Barcelona have expressed their views about the prospect of a takeover by rival Oracle. Predictably, most have come out strongly against the deal.
Helmut Tager, IT manager at Die Bahn, the company that runs Germany’s railways, said that it would reduce choice and competition, particularly for companies of Die Bahn’s size, which has more than 300,000 staff.
“At the moment there’s really only SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft. If Oracle were to buy PeopleSoft, there would only be two,” he said. That would not provide a satisfactory level of competition in an otherwise lucrative market, he added.
His concerns were echoed by Barry Hudson at South Africa’s CSIR, a research institute of some 3,000 staff. Hudson is mid-way through a migration from a number of in-house applications to PeopleSoft and he fears a ‘forced march’ from PeopleSoft to Oracle before he has even finished his current project.
Hudson’s company will be “wall to wall” PeopleSoft when the project is finished.
But Torben Pedersen, a director at Danish mobile operator TDC, was sanguine. “I’m not a religious man when it comes to software,” he said.
TDC runs PeopleSoft for human resources and Oracle Financials in accounts because they were the preferred applications in their respective departments. He takes the view that software vendors regularly ‘force’ upgrades on users and whether that is by Oracle or PeopleSoft makes little difference.
However, he warned that if Oracle were to succeed in its takeover bid, TDC would insist that the promises Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had made to support PeopleSoft products for ten years were kept. TDC might consider pursuing Oracle in the Danish and European courts if he did not, he added.
At the conference, CEO Craig Conway stroked users’ hostility to Oracle’s takeover bid. “Oracle’s actions — discontinuing its sales of our products and laying off PeopleSoft staff — are not consistent with wanting to own PeopleSoft.”
“These tactics are consistent with wanting to discredit us because Oracle sees us as a threat,” he told users in a keynote speech.