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Oracle is spicing up the appeal of its 7,000-strong ISV network with the prospect that directors of partner companies could find themselves bought-out by the database giant.

Oracle president Charles Phillips today proclaimed that Oracle is fast becoming the "buyer of choice" in the wake of a quick succession of deals for PeopleSoft, Oblix and Retek - an Oracle partner.

In his keynote at Software 2005 in Santa Clara, California, he also hinted at more M&A activity, with Oracle continuing to "consolidate the industry," he told an the audience of high-tech CEOs: "[Companies] are saying, 'If you are going to buy something in my industry, buy me, not my competitor'."

Despite this partner-friendly spin, Philllips hinted at changes to PeopleSoft's support for third-party applications that could harm partners.

Oracle will weed-out third party applications shipped with PeopleSoft that happen to overlap with the functionality in Oracle applications. The company will also stop shipping competitors, such as IBM's WebSphere, with PeopleSoft, although Phillips said Oracle will continue to certify PeopleSoft with these applications.

Oracle is keen to be seen as partner-friendly in the wake of its recent acquisition frenzy. It's important for Oracle to woo ISV partners as the company's rivals begin to consolidate and expand their own partner programs.

Arch-rival SAP this year began evangelizing ISVs to join its planned NetWeaver ecosystem. Oracle says its own Project Fusion middleware architecture is the company's answer to NetWeaver.

In an attempt to offset any SAP overtures to ISVs, Phillips said: "We can't cover everything. We need more than one partner. We are open for partnerships."

He committed Oracle to develop PeopleSoft and Oracle applications through to 2013, with the applications then sharing a common architecture based on the Project Fusion middleware. The timetable means that Oracle is not forcing PeopleSoft customers to switch right away, he said: "There's no urgency to do anything." ®

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