Oracle bid not anticompetitive: SAP exec

Spend a little time with SAP Australia MD Geraldine McBride and one could get the impression that she can hardly contain her delight at Oracle's hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft.

During a media luncheon with IDG journalists in Sydney this week, McBride said she disagreed with claims by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) that the takeover was anticompetitive.

"The DoJ definition of competition is limited; I don't agree with its definition," she said.

"Regulatory bodies shouldn't interfere with market activity, it isn't healthy for industry.

"The shakeout was inevitable and we aren't concerned; this consolidation activity is an attempt to get greater scale and size in the market which is why SAP competes on all levels; we have solutions covering every segment of the market and that is the key."

McBride was quick to point out she supported competition, but obviously doesn't mind a little less of it with Oracle's hostile takeover bid set to go to trial in June.

Her comments coincided with a hearing in the US, which approved Oracle's bid to get access to confidential information collected by the US government from competitors, partners and buyers as part of its antitrust review of the takeover.

Without access to the DoJ information, Oracle claims it cannot defend itself in the lawsuit.

SAP produced about 81,000 documents in the case, Microsoft more than 20,000 pages, PeopleSoft close to two million pages and Lawson Software 3000 pages plus 300Mbytes of electronic data, lawyers for the companies said.

Meanwhile, Australia's own consumer watchdog has raised concern about the bid claiming it will reduce competition locally.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it is concerned that reduced competition in Australia could breach the Trade Practices Act.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said because the matter is before US courts, no action will be taken at this point; however, the watchdog is contacting local enterprise application software customers.

He said Australian customers who have been contacted claim the proposed acquisition will restrict their choices, especially when it comes to financial management and human resource management software.

"The ACCC considers that barriers to competing with Oracle and PeopleSoft are significant," Samuel said.

"The software requirements of some organisations are very complex and it is not possible for the smaller software companies in this space to meet these needs."

SAP weaves its way

Armed with a mandate to increase market share in Australia in the next 12 months, McBride described the company's strategy as an "aggressive" one that will see SAP make serious inroads into the SMB market.

She expects SMB sales to account for 15 percent of SAP's revenue in Australia.

"Companies don't want five different vendors because it means investing in additional skills sets, customers are coming to us wanting us right across the enterprise; we aren't pushing this trend," she said.

"An older version of PeopleSoft costs as much to upgrade as a brand new SAP implementation."

As expected, SAP is revamping its NetWeaver middleware, application server and integration platform in a bid to ensure that all of the components synchronize.

The main goal behind the rollout of NetWeaver 4.0, first detailed this week, is to offer a single stack "without buying 17 different pieces and figuring out how to make them work." The NetWeaver components will be available by April 1.

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More about Australian Competition and Consumer CommissionAustralian Competition and Consumer CommissionDepartment of JusticeDOJLawson Software AustraliaMicrosoftOraclePeopleSoftSAP AustraliaUS Department of Justice

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