Microsoft tries to woo PeopleSoft customers

Only days after Oracle Corp. sealed a deal to buy PeopleSoft Inc., Microsoft Corp. is offering its advice to PeopleSoft customers.

“Oracle’s acquisition of PeopleSoft may be moving forward, but difficult technology decisions lie ahead,” Bill Veghte, Microsoft’s corporate vice president in charge of sales, services and marketing efforts in the U.S. and Canada, wrote in a letter sent to PeopleSoft customers Wednesday.

In the letter, Veghte pitches Microsoft’s technologies as offering lower costs, lower complexity, better manageability, greater productivity and more extension capabilities. Veghte until recently was corporate vice president for the Windows Server Group, overseeing development and marketing of Windows Server operating systems.

“It’s about choices,” Veghte writes. Much of the letter focuses on promoting the Windows platform and Microsoft products such as SQL Server and technologies such as .Net Web services.

Veghte offers three options: extending PeopleSoft installations with Microsoft Web services technologies; moving PeopleSoft software to Windows and SQL Server from Unix and Oracle’s database; and replacing PeopleSoft’s ERP (enterprise resource planning) software with a competing product running on Windows.

“Migration to another ERP solution, including Microsoft Business Solutions, SAP and other partner ERP solutions on the Microsoft platform are additional options available to PeopleSoft customers seeking greater clarity around technology direction and platform alignment,” Veghte wrote.

Microsoft’s courting of PeopleSoft customers is one example of competing vendors looking to take full advantage of any confusion on the part of current and potential Oracle and PeopleSoft customers. After a lengthy takeover battle Oracle now has an agreement to buy PeopleSoft, but still faces the gargantuan task of integrating the two companies.

During Oracle’s 18-month battle for PeopleSoft, Microsoft testified for the U.S. government in its challenge to the merger. Doug Burgum, head of the company’s Business Solutions group, said Microsoft does not want to compete with PeopleSoft, Oracle and SAP AG in the market for business software for large and complex enterprises. During the same trial, Microsoft disclosed it held merger talks with SAP after Oracle’s bid for PeopleSoft.

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