Oracle reseller pitches to PeopleSoft accounts

Striking while iron's warming up

Never let it be said IT salespeople are slow to seize on market uncertainty to bolster their pitch.

Following Oracle's unexpected bid for PeopleSoft, UK reseller DSP Global has become one of the first companies to announce a PeopleSoft to Oracle E-Business Suite conversion programme.

Oracle mounted a hostile $5.1 billion takeover bid last Friday (6 June) for enterprise apps rival PeopleSoft. Oracle offered $16 cash per PeopleSoft share, just six per cent above its closing price of $15.11 before the offer.

Forget doubts about whether Oracle is offering enough to persuade PeopleSoft shareholders to sell, PeopleSoft board's opposition to the bid or even anti-trust concerns, DSP Global asserts that the deal is a racing certainty. On this questionable basis, migration from PeopleSoft is the only option for the firm's famously loyal band of customers.

"PeopleSoft clients know that current market economics mean that the deal is most likely to go ahead and that they need to start looking at conversion," said Phil Huntley, DSP Global's chief executive.

Under Oracle's plan, the PeopleSoft brand would eventually disappear, although technical support would be provided to PeopleSoft's existing customers. Oracle managers also indicated PeopleSoft's 8000-odd workers could expect mass layoffs.

PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway has described Oracle's $5.1 billion bid as "atrociously bad behaviour from a company with a history of atrociously bad behaviour".

Conway claims Oracle's bid is motivated solely by an attempt to derail PeopleSoft's plans to acquire mid-market apps vendor J D Edwards.

Oracle boss Larry Ellison, meanwhile, has found time to blast PeopleSoft's services organisation while pressing his request to meet the PeopleSoft board to discuss Oracle's bid.

"We are not interested in stock market egos," said DSP Global's Huntley. "We want to offer PeopleSoft clients a long-term relationship so they can protect their IT investments, while remaining in a supported environment."

Oracle has announced that it will offer PeopleSoft clients a free upgrade. However, Huntley argues that potential PeopleSoft defectors would do better to go through his company. "Beware of an Oracle person bearing gifts," he warned. "In our experience there's no such thing as a free lunch." ®

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