University not sold on Oracle–PeopleSoft decision

'It isn't helpful at all', says IT director

Auckland University IT systems and services director Stephen Whiteside says the green light given to Oracle to go ahead with its attempted takeover of PeopleSoft isn't good news for PeopleSoft users.

"I think you'll generally find that PeopleSoft customers aren't that warm to the Oracle bid — we don't see what's in it for us and the whole thing is dragging on and being a distraction.

"It isn't helpful at all", says Whiteside.

Judge Vaughn Walker gave his decision on the US Justice Department's case against Oracle on September 9, ruling that the department failed to prove a takeover of PeopleSoft by Oracle would reduce competition in the business applications market.

Whiteside says how Oracle would integrate PeopleSoft remains unclear.

"Oracle doesn't have a forward strategy for PeopleSoft products and I'd rather see it all stopped and people focused on delivering services."

The decision doesn't mean the saga is over, as the European Union is still to give its verdict on the proposed merger and PeopleSoft is threatening to activate "poison pill" provisions in its constitution, which would make it very expensive for Oracle to acquire it.

"There are still several other hurdles to go and if it does go ahead, it'll be as hostile as they get."

Auckland University, along with Air New Zealand and the Manukau City Council, is a major New Zealand PeopleSoft site and uses PeopleSoft's financials, HR and payroll applications, as well as its Portal product.

Computerworld asked Air New Zealand for its views on the decision, but spokesman Mike Tod said the company has no comment.

However, last year, shortly after Oracle first announced it was seeking to take over PeopleSoft, then-Air New Zealand PeopleSoft implementation programme director Chris Alderson said "When Larry says they're going to stop developing PeopleSoft and take the best bits and put them into Oracle, that's not the most wonderful thing I've ever heard."

Air New Zealand chose PeopleSoft over Oracle and SAP, he said at the time, "so we voted with our feet."

The airline's $37 million PeopleSoft implementation includes financials, human capital management and payroll.

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