RealTime IT News

Oracle Holds Second Town Hall Meeting

For the second time in less than two months, Oracle held a Town Hall meeting to quell the fears of PeopleSoft shareholders who are concerned about the database giant's hostile takeover plans.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based firm is currently offering $7.5 billion for both Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards, which it fully acquired late last month. The Department of Justice is undergoing an antitrust review of Oracle's proposal.

Company executive Vice Presidents Chuck Phillips and Mike Rocha again sat in the hot seat Wednesday reading and answering about two-dozen questions sent via e-mail or on submitted during the webcast.

The pair reaffirmed that Oracle would have no problem supporting the two latest versions of PeopleSoft software, sustaining its customer relationships or honoring its current contracts. Oracle's integration roadmap was called into question when PeopleSoft supporters accused its rival's campaign as nothing short of "misleading."

"We have said before, will not shut down PeopleSoft, you will not be forced to switch to Oracle," Phillips said. "We will provide support including PeopleSoft experts, and we will increase the investments by extending support for PeopleSoft version 7 by two years and 10 years by version 8 of PeopleSoft software. Mr. Ellison has said the company would always to maintain the product line."

Similar to the first town hall meeting, the company revealed precious little more than to advertise Oracle's penchant for supporting companies it has acquired such as Digital Electronics Corp.'s RDB database software division back in 1994.

Oracle senior vice president and CIO Bob Pacek recounted that the No. 2 business software maker was pro-active in its integration and that DirectTV still uses RDB software for billing.

When attendees pressed further about its post-acquisition roadmap, Rocha said Oracle would first keep the customer advisory boards and try desperately to keep the teams in tact especially support personnel. That may be hard to do considering Phillips has been quoted as saying that Oracle would either have to cut a significant number jobs or reduce product support to meet the cost-savings goals if the merger was successful.

Philips said it was too early in the game to tell how many people would be migrating to Oracle if it acquired PeopleSoft. He also chose not to speculate on the potential number of customers it could loose, but did say that the matter "is not taken lightly."

The pair also dismissed PeopleSoft's "double your money or back if acquired" tactic as a gimmick.

"We would honor those previous contracts, so this is a moot point" said Rocha.

The only variable appears to be if Oracle will honor software, support services and contracts forged by JD Edwards. Phillips called it a timing issue considering Oracle's merger proposal could take a couple of months to complete.

"We're waiting to see what they do with the product before we decide to support it," Phillips said. "Oracle has 6 major centers and we also have a series of regional hubs. If those acquired centers are germane to provide services we support, you can count on us keeping them open."

PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway is expected to offer his two cents on the state of the merger and the Town Hall meeting Thursday during a webcast of a scheduled analyst event. Conway has already been quoted as saying that the Oracle saga is over considering the anti-takeover measures (sometimes referred to as a poison pill) his company already has in place.

Oracle will more than likely counter any claims and may again extend its tender of the offer next week during its OracleWorld Conference and Exposition in San Francisco next week.