The Department of Justice put out a bullish press release as it rested its case against Oracle yesterday. In it, assistant attorney general R. Hewitt Pate predicted, unsurprisingly, that it would win the case to prevent Oracle from buying rival PeopleSoft and claimed that the govenrment had provided "ample evidence" that Oracle's acquisition would harm competition.

The government's trial team, led by Claude Scott, has provided "compelling" proof that the acquisition would result in higher prices, less innovation and fewer choices for businesses, government agencies and other organizations relying on human resource and financial management enterprise software, Pate said.

"Witness after witness, customer after customer, expert after expert gave testimony to support the government's case. These witnesses and Oracle's own internal documents demonstrate that there are only three companies that sell the software products that large enterprise customers demand - Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP," he said. "Oracle's own executives described the head-to-head competition between Oracle and PeopleSoft that has brought lower prices to their customers. The loss of that competition will lead to higher prices and less innovation for enterprise software.

Pate dismissed claims by Oracle that new companies entering the marketplace would keep the company's prices in check, arguing that entry into the enterprise market is "extraordinarily difficult" and could require years to accomplish.

The assistant attorney general also discredited attempts to draw attention to Microsoft's consideration of becoming a major player in the enterprise software market by acquiring SAP. Such a move, he said, would create no new competition.

The remarks from Pate come nearly two weeks after Judge Vaughn Walker, on the first day of the trial, peppered Scott with questions about the DOJ's market definition. The judge asked why the DOJ has focused its case on the US software market rather than the worldwide market, and why it considers Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP to be the only alternatives for "high-function" enterprise applications used by large corporations.