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Oracle pledges support 'for years to come'

In a webcast, CEO Larry Ellison promised not to leave PeopleSoft customers high and dry. He outlined the company's application development plans.

Oracle Corp. today reaffirmed its commitment to support and develop PeopleSoft Inc. and J.D. Edwards & Co. products through 2013.

Just days after Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle announced plans to lay off 5,000 employees, CEO Larry Ellison promised the combined company would retain 90% of PeopleSoft's developers and 90% of its support staff.

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"If you've got a problem, we'll fix it. If you have a question, we'll answer it," Ellison pledged in a Tuesday webcast. "If you're a J.D. Edwards customer, don't be surprised if you call us and you're talking to the same exact person you talked to when J.D. Edwards was a stand alone company. If you're a PeopleSoft customer, expect to talk to the same person you talked to two months ago."

Oracle's combined support staff will total more than 6,000 reps in 16 global centers.

Oracle will carry out PeopleSoft's development plans for the next several years, said John Wookey, Oracle's senior vice president of applications development who is heading up the company's new applications division For example, the PeopleSoft World 7.3 release with a business process management modeling tool is still scheduled to be released in the second quarter of this year, and PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne 8.12 is still scheduled for release in 2006. Oracle will continue development through PeopleSoft 9.0 and 2013.

Existing customers or those who are currently evaluating software should continue as if nothing has changed, Ellison said.

"One of our key messages here today is continuity," Ellison said. "There's no reason for you to reevaluate or change your mind. Three or four years down the line, you'll be looking at a merged product."

In the meantime, Oracle is still promising to release Oracle 12. After that, its development team will merge Oracle and PeopleSoft applications. The company is calling that major, multi-year effort "Project Fusion."

Oracle will also continue existing relationships with PeopleSoft's channel partners. Customers in the midst of the buying process can still purchase the software that they had contracted, either PeopleSoft or Oracle apps. Going forward, Oracle's salesforce, will focus on selling the Oracle E-business Suite Ellison said.

Ellison also sought to downplay criticism that the culture of the two companies will clash.

"We just don't see this as a problem," Ellison said. "I don't think we're trying to take two disparate cultures and force them together. PeopleSoft was run by a former Oracle executive."

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