RealTime IT News

A Combined Oracle Launches

UPDATED: REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. -- After 18 months of merger on the brain, Oracle is beginning its new life with PeopleSoft today.

The combined company is the second largest purveyor of enterprise resource planning software (ERP) behind market leader SAP AG . The new Oracle is already aligning itself to compete against IBM and Microsoft . The company has said it wants to concentrate first on traditional areas like government, financial services and manufacturing with more to surely follow.

Oracle executives Larry Ellison, CEO, and co-presidents Safra Catz and Charles Phillips shared their vision for the combined companies during a customer and press event at Oracle's corporate headquarters here. The management team hit on the same key topics discussed during Oracle's dogged pursuit of PeopleSoft, including its commitment to PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers and its 10-year product and support commitments.

"Circle 2013 on your calendar, as that is the end of our commitment," Ellison said. "Somewhere between then and now, customers will need to decide for themselves when it is convenient for them to upgrade to the merged product."

That merged product is "Project Fusion," the company's next-generation information-oriented application architecture that combines Oracle, PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards under a standards-based Java base.

To help both development of the old and new products, Ellison said Oracle is committed to keeping more than 90 percent of PeopleSoft product development and product support staff. The PeopleSoft development team will finish the work it started with PeopleSoft version 8.9, then begin the next upgrade to PeopleSoft products, version 9.0.

Over the weekend, Oracle fired 5,000 employees, courtesy of express mail packages. The cuts reduce the combined companies' worldwide staff to 50,000.

PeopleSoft executives Dave Duffield resigned his position as CEO on Dec. 21. PeopleSoft CFO Kevin Parker, co-president W. Phillip Wilmington, chief marketing officer Nanci Caldwell and general counsel James Shaughnessy were also let go following the completion of the merger earlier this month.

Oracle has undergone a realignment, as well. Ron Wohl, executive vice president of applications development and Michael Rocha, executive vice president of global support, have both reportedly moved on. A source familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified, told internetnews.com Wohl would most likely stay on with Oracle but in another department.

As the company rolls out its vision for the future, analysts and even Oracle admits its first challenge is to hold onto PeopleSoft customers and their maintenance contracts, which was one of the motivations for acquiring PeopleSoft in the first place.

"Oracle is going to have a lot of explaining to do, to reassure IT executives and those PeopleSoft personnel with the option of remaining at 'OracleSoft' that Oracle's intentions are honorable," Michael Dortch, principal business analyst with IT infrastructure research firm Robert Frances Group, told internetnews.com. "The proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, but what happens if there's not enough of the right mix of people to make a pudding anyone wants to eat?"