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?”

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