RealTime IT News

Oracle Joins Antitrust Support Group

On the road to acquiring its cross-town rival, Oracle is seeking help from a trade group that previously helped Microsoft with its antitrust trials.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software giant said it has joined with the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT). The Washington-based organization, which also added Mountain View, Calif.-based digital security company VeriSign to its ranks Tuesday, is critical of U.S. antitrust policy. The organization represents eBay, Microsoft, Orbitz, and nearly 3000 software developers, systems integrators, IT consulting and training firms, and e-businesses.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Oracle vice president Ken Glueck said the company was happy to join ACT "despite our past disagreements." The two have been at odds over ACT's support of Microsoft during its antitrust case with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Now the DoJ is after Oracle. The Justice Department and ten states are seeking to block Oracle's $9.4 billion proposal to acquire PeopleSoft by arguing that the merger between two major enterprise software providers would be anti-competitive and limit customers' choices. Oracle is fighting to thwart the DoJ's stance. The next pre-trial court appearance is scheduled for May 21, with the trial scheduled for June 7.

Microsoft is among the 33 different entities working with the Justice Department and supporting its case. Oracle has identified Microsoft as a competitor in the broader software market, especially in the mid-tier sector.

ACT President Jonathan Zuck told internetnews.com that the DoJ's case against Oracle is another "misapplication of the corporate laws." The organization is still considering filing some amicus briefs in favor of the merger.

"We're still in the planning stages of how we're going to respond," Zuck said in a recent interview. "We may be looking to find others to participate in the process, but we don't know. It's not on everybody's radar."

In a separate legal issue, SuperSpeed Software, out of Sudbury, Mass., recently filed a lawsuit against Oracle for patent infringement for a method of increasing data-processing speed. The case filed in U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi, Texas, accuses Oracle of infringing three patents related to SuperSpeed's caching technology. The lawsuit asks the court to block any further infringement and asks for cash compensation.

"We are aware that Superspeed Software has filed a suit in court without ever contacting Oracle. Once we have had time to review the complaint, we will respond appropriately in court," Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Lilienthal told internetnews.com.