The Oracle PeopleSoft situation has turned into a big mess

I don’t know about you but does this industry really want to go through another Oracle/PeopleSoft takeover ordeal? That could be the result after U.S. District Court Judge Vaughan Walker last month threw out the Department of Justice’s claim that Oracle is being anti-competitive with its takeover

bid for one of its chief rivals.

Now the last time I heard the name Vaughan Walker he was a hard-hitting linebacker for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. Regardless, I think it’s either a bad decision for the IT industry, or the result of bad competition law.

Walker ruled that there are sufficient enterprise software alternatives in the market place should Oracle be successful in capturing PeopleSoft. Sufficient? Sure, but are those applications as good or better than what PeopleSoft has to offer?

To make matters worse, PeopleSoft’s board of directors decided to tie the can to Craig Conway as president and CEO of the company. This does not look so good for PeopleSoft. Conway was dead set against the Oracle takeover. His removal from the situation clear states to me that the market has spoken and the market wants Oracle to gobble up PeopleSoft.

What does this mean for the poor channel partners in Canada?

Andy Aicklen, general manager of PeopleSoft Canada, is trying to get a channel off the ground for PeopleSoft in this country. He has recruited a few so far. Earlier this year he told CDN that he wants to build PeopleSoft Canada’s channel slowly and with the right partners. But maybe Aicklen moved slowly to protect partners from a potential mess if Oracle is successful in obtaining PeopleSoft.

If that does occur I am afraid those solution providers who invested in PeopleSoft here won’t get much out of their investment.

The other thing that puzzles me is why is Oracle doing this? Or for that matter why is Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO, doing this?

I can think of several reasons. Maybe it is ego. How about the bad blood between Ellison and Conway? There was a lot of mudslinging going on between them last year. Maybe it was the fact Ellison was beaten to the J.D. Edwards acquisition by Conway. Or Ellison may have needed something to do now that his MIG fighter jet has been permanently parked by the Bay Area Airport Authority.

To me there isn’t any sound market-based reason for a takeover. I also get a general sense from Oracle staffers that they would rather not have to go through this again.

For the channel, this new attempt at a PeopleSoft takeover doesn’t work. Oracle partners will have to invest more dollars not only in resources, but in training and certification to get up to speed on any new integrated solutions.

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