Oracle exec woos PeopleSoft customers

Making a bid to appeal to reluctant, or even vehemently opposed, PeopleSoft Inc. customers, an Oracle Corp. executive reiterated the company’s position that it won’t kill off the PeopleSoft line of products should its hostile takeover bid for the company succeed.

For the past two weeks, Oracle and PeopleSoft have been locked in a tight and acrimonious battle over PeopleSoft’s ownership. A number of PeopleSoft customers have said they don’t want to see the company become an Oracle property. Looking to assuage their concerns, Oracle executive vice-president Chuck Phillips, at a press conference today, gave assurances that no customer would be forced onto the Oracle E-Business Suite, nor would any action be taken that reduces the functionality of PeopleSoft’s platform.

“If and only if the customer elects to do, they may move to the E-Business Suite in a free module-for-module upgrade,” said Phillips. “If they choose to stay put, we’ll be there for them. … We wouldn’t be offering US$6 billion in cold, hard cash if we didn’t really want them.”

Phillips also held out the prospect that PeopleSoft users would have one of the world’s largest software development and support organizations at their disposal should the deal go through. In addition, he said there would be a “major outsourcing alternative they never had before.”

Phillips also said that running PeopleSoft off a single data model – which would be the Oracle database – would be an “enormous advantage.” The company would also be working to automate the process of upgrading from PeopleSoft to Oracle, and making the migration as cheap as possible, he said.