Commentary: Congrats, LarryBy Larry Dignan Print
Now Oracle gets what it really wanted—PeopleSoft's 12,500 customers and the support and maintenance revenue they represent. But the fun is really just beginning. PeopleSoft customers are a wary bunch.Congratulations, Larry Ellison. You finally got your prize in PeopleSoft. And it only took you 553 days and $10.3 billion. Consider it an early Christmas for Oracle.
The PeopleSoft takeover saga became a foregone conclusion over the weekend, when the prey finally caved. After all, PeopleSoft's arguments—antitrust regulators won't approve it, the price tag wasn't high enough, and we just don't like Oracle—fell away gradually. Especially when you raised the bid to $26.50 a share, from $24.
Now Oracle gets what it really wanted—PeopleSoft's 12,500 customers and the support and maintenance revenue they represent. But the fun is really just beginning. PeopleSoft customers are a wary bunch, and many are making alternative plans just to be safe. Among the customers you will need to win over:
Why the worry? Maybe it was the June 2003 press release from Oracle blasting PeopleSoft's J.D. Edwards acquisition as a tactic just to fend off Ellison & Co.
Oracle will have to win that foursome over, and thousands of other technology executives (read: Oracle customers-to-be) with the same concerns.
Rest assured, these executives are plotting their next move, pondering switches to rivals such as SAP and anxiously awaiting phone calls from their Oracle and PeopleSoft contacts. Maybe you can keep them happy initially, but you'll have to work hard to migrate them to Oracle applications and upgrade accordingly. Their technology road maps will be amended starting today to include escape hatches and possible jumps to other suppliers. Your job: Keep them happy or they'll leave.
You wouldn't want to waste $10.3 billion.
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