Oracle Declares ''Fusion'' for PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards Products
On Tuesday Oracle unveiled the first concrete details of its plans for the former PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards product lines acquired in its recent $10 billion takeover. As expected Oracle indicated that it will work to blend features from the three enterprise suites it controls into one new product. The effort's code-name is Project Fusion, and it is expected to be a Java-based, Internet-aware software package. That effort is not expected to bear fruit this year, but in the meantime Oracle says it will release PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.9 this year, followed by Enterprise 9 and EnterpriseOne 8.12 in 2006, alongside new Oracle product developments.
"From a customer's perspective it was a little more positive [than expected]... there will be another release of the PeopleSoft Enterprise product, but the details they announced that we hadn't heard before is that they would do some ongoing enhancements and deliver some new functionality to the [JDE] World product," says Judy Sweeney, research director at AMR Research. "Since they will not be the products that Oracle will be positioning to new business, the sense I got is that they will do enhancements based on input from the [installed] customer base."
Oracle reaffirmed that it would offer support for the PeopleSoft set of products into the next decade, a move some have cynically credited solely to the steep rebate offers put in new contracts by former PeopleSoft management in the event of a corporate takeover and dissolution of the product support groups. Oracle extended support offers for even those J.D. Edwards products that PeopleSoft had put on the track to end-of-life. To date Oracle says it has retained the vast bulk of the PeopleSoft engineering and support team, choosing to eliminate thousands of jobs primarily in the administrative and sales sides of the house.
Oracle has yet to answer questions about how its application strategy will change, if at all, to reflect the support PeopleSoft and JDE offered for rival database systems from companies like IBM and Microsoft. Oracle itself develops a high-end database platform, closely linked to the usage of Oracle enterprise applications.
The company indicated that it will not aggressively seek new business for those product lines, although PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards contracts and intellectual property will clearly be on Oracle's books for some time to come, and customers will receive support and incremental licensing for years. "They didn't say they wouldn't sell it, but they definitely said they wouldn't market it, and would want the direct sales force to position Oracle to net-new customers," Sweeney says. That leaves the midmarket J.D. Edwards integrator base with an intriguing challenge ahead, as many of their clients do not scale well to the core Oracle application offering. "My suspicion is, when you actually get down to the field, that transition will be difficult, since the channels are out there after net-new business all the time."
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