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PeopleSoft says it will port its 170-strong portfolio to Linux by the end of the year. Executives took the opportunity to indulge in some colorful barbs at Microsoft, too.

"It's not that we're anti-Microsoft. We're pro-choice," CEO Craig Conway told customers at a PeopleSoft show this week. As CRN noted this was a backtrack from his earlier claim that "Unix broke the dependency on IBM mainframes, and Linux will break the dependency on Microsoft."

Conway alsosaid that "this is the beginning of the end of middleware," which is odd, because he's just inked an agreement to use IBM's Websphere and Java middleware in an extensive co-marketing venture with Big Blue. So who knows what he really meant?

The agreement extends to DB2, and is likely to drive more hardware sales for IBM

At one time considered a natural partner for Redmond, PeopleSoft has been touted as an acquisition target for Microsoft in the past. Talk stopped when Redmond inked a deal with Siebel last year. Microsoft's move into back office business applications began with Great Plains in 2001, and continued with Navision. Acquiring the company would give competitor Larry Ellison pause for thought. A very brief pause, we suspect, followed by lots of shouting.

A question for readers: does this make PeopleSoft's acquisition more or less likely?

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