PeopleSoft pledges product support to JDE users

ANAHEIM, CA. — PeopleSoft is vowing to extend support for its own product line as well as that of the former J.D. Edwards line as integration of the two companies goes forward.

During his keynote to more than 10,000 users attending

the company’s Connect 2003 conference here, CEO Craig Conway announced enhancements to the company’s support policy and emphasized that as integration of the two companies occurs the goal is to expand the product line for all customers, not consolidate.

The extended support will include software fixes and updates for four years; upgrade scripts to the most current release for five years; tax and related regulatory changes for six years and technical support with access for in-depth support.

The support will be available for PeopleSoft’s Internet-based applications PeopleSoft versions 8.0 and above and future releases PeopleSoft Enterprise and J.D. Edwards 5 and future releases of EnterpriseOne (the OneWorld platform J.D. Edwards will fall under after integration).

During a press conference PeopleSoft chief technology officer Rick Bergquist said he knows the No. 1 question in customers’ minds is how the two product lines will come together and for J.D.Edwards customers in particular, whether their applications will continue to be supported.

“It’s about delivering not on a grand vision and promise of tomorrow, but execution — to deliver on a better experience to customers.”

In what has become a nasty war of words between Oracle and PeopleSoft in the last two months following Oracle’s hostile takeover bid first issued June 6, Conway took a defensive approach as he appeared on stage for the keynote Monday morning. The CEO, and his escort — his grey-muzzled black lab Abbey — both appeared wearing bullet-proof vests.

“Abbey and I didn’t want to take any chances,” he said.

Conway was referring to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s response to Conway’s suggestion that if Oracle was successful in its takeover of PeopleSoft, Ellison would eliminate the product line. Earlier this summer Conway reportedly said that Oracle buying PeopleSoft is like saying, “I’m going to buy your dog so I can go out back and shoot it.”

Ellison’s response was that if Conway and his dog were standing next to each other, “…and I only had one bullet, trust me, it wouldn’t be for the dog.”

The uproar created by Oracle’s bid could have been bad news for PeopleSoft sales, Conway said, but he credited customers for continuing to buy applications even when some analysts suggested it was not a good time to be investing in a technology product that was under takeover.

“It was believed the uncertainty would become a weapon to weaken PeopleSoft,” said Conway. “The tactic of uncertainty could have weakened PeopleSoft but it didn’t. Oracle failed, not because of our management team or our corporate lawyers or our board of directors, but because of you. If customers were frozen by the actions of Oracle it could have been different, but customers went ahead, because the reality was they would only hurt themselves.”

Conway noted that on June 30 PeopleSoft exceeded its financial guidance for Q2 and two weeks later the acquisition of J.D. Edwards was complete.

According to a recent report by Boston, MA-based Aberdeen Group, PeopleSoft’s positive financial performance over the last quarter diminishes the likelihood that the hostile bid by Oracle will be successful. Two factors could change that opinion however, including the outcome of a U.S. Department of Justice anti-trust review and the possibility Oracle might up its offer substantially.

Conway also outlined the way PeopleSoft will align the J.D. Edwards product line with its own applications. There will be three product groups: PeopleSoft Enterprise, PeopleSoft Enterprise One, which will include J.D. Edwards OneWorld platform and related products marketed to mid-market companies with a focus on asset intensive industries; and PeopleSoft World which will be J.D. Edwards’ re-branded World product supported for IBM iSeries (AS400) customers.

While most customers attending the conference are PeopleSoft users, this is the first conference J.D. Edwards customers have been invited to attend.

Canadian PeopleSoft customers such as Brahim Hoosein, MIS Manager of Belvedere International, said that while he is busy with a large PeopleSoft implementation set to rollout in February, if any of the J.D. Edwards products were appropriate for his organization, he would consider them. Several customers have said they are interested in the J.D. Edwards real estate management application, which assists companies in managing properties. In particular, banks are expressing interest in it to help them manage branches.

According to the president of PeopleSoft’s International Customer Advisory Board (ICAB), the two user groups will eventually merge and ICAB will expand its board to solicit members from the J.D. Edwards customer base.

“We are hopeful that the integration will result in more choice,” said Peg Nicholson, ICAB president.

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