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Oracle & the Candy Store Window

Ellison: "BEA was a more attractive purchase than Siebel"

Oracle thought about taking a run at Lawson Software, JD Edwards, BEA, Siebel Systems, Business Objects, Documentum, and Sybase, according to videotaped testimony taken from Oracle CFO Jeff Henley and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and shown at the Oracle-PeopleSoft trial the other day.

Henley said the Lawson-JDE move was debated in April of last year as a way to give Oracle more of an edge in the mid-market, muddying Oracle's premise that Lawson is an up-market player and would compete against any Oracle-PeopleSoft tie-up.

The disclosure supports the rumors that circulated last year after PeopleSoft cut a deal to buy JD Edwards and immediately provoked Oracle to make its hostile bid for PeopleSoft that Oracle had had its eye on JDE.

Ellison said that BEA would have helped Oracle reach the kind of heft it needs to compete against Microsoft and IBM. BEA, he said, was a more attractive purchase than Siebel and claimed Siebel CEO Tom Siebel once came to his house and tried to sell him Siebel.

Oracle has already said that if its proposed PeopleSoft takeover doesn't fly, it'll buy something else and BEA has long been considered a prime target although Oracle recognizes that BEA wouldn't be any happier than PeopleSoft at the prospect of Oracle eating it up.

If Oracle were to acquire PeopleSoft, Henley told the court, Oracle would put PeopleSoft's software on a maintenance schedule, support it for 10 years and build in only the new functionality required by existing contracts.

The 10-year support promise was wrung from Oracle in the early days of its year-old offer after its plans to dump the software and substitute Oracle's own met a wall of user protest.

Internal Oracle documents also presented in court said a PeopleSoft acquisition would "strain the current Oracle management because it would require significant personnel changes and restructuring."

Before the Justice Department called Microsoft to the stand Wednesday to debunk Oracle's claims that Microsoft is a major factor in the enterprise ERP market, Oracle issued a white paper to the press propping up its contention and itemizing a hundred instances where its applications unit competed against Microsoft.

Microsoft VP Doug Burgum then told the court that there was a "gap" in the functionality of Microsoft business apps that makes them unsuitable for large companies. He also said Microsoft doesn't expect to fill it; it's not economical.

Of course, that's without considering Axapta, which, he admitted, is aimed at big companies and the in-progress Project Green that's supposed to unify Microsoft's diverse business apps into a credible big-company offering.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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