Customers oppose Oracle takeover

Some 96% of JD Edwards customers polled by user group Quest, said that if Oracle bought PeopleSoft after PeopleSoft had acquired JD Edwards, then JD Edwards users would be left out in the cold.

Dave Watts, president of Quest, an independent group that represents JD Edwards users in more than 50 countries, said in a statement: ‘We believe the Oracle deal would significantly reduce the number and quality of choices for consumers of enterprise software.’

The view is shared by UK users. ‘If Oracle bought JD Edwards as part of PeopleSoft, would there be an upgrade path? JD Edwards users would just be the poor relation,’ said Paul Every, head of corporate systems for the States of Jersey treasury, who voted in the Quest poll. ‘Oracle doesn’t want to improve the customer’s lot. It wants to remove a player from the market.’

But Brian Skiba, global technology analyst at Deutsche Bank, said it is not just JD Edwards customers that will be left out should a deal with Oracle go through. ‘Large customers of PeopleSoft are really hosed in the long term,’ he told Accountancy Age. ‘The net of this is that the customer loses with less choice and higher prices.’

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison hinted last week at the Oracle AppsWorld conference in London that he is considering a third bid for PeopleSoft. While he believes his latest offer to be ‘fully valued and fair’ at $6.3bn (£3.8bn) he also said ‘never say never’ to the idea of a third bid.

Skiba believes PeopleSoft is unlikely to hold out much longer. ‘At $19.50 (£11.74), this has to be seriously considered and will have to become a co-operative thing,’ he said. ‘Influential board members with large holdings are no longer emotionally attached to PeopleSoft.’ But rumours have already started to circulate that PeopleSoft may be actively looking for a white knight, with technology giants Microsoft and IBM mentioned.

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