PeopleSoft has unanimously rejected Oracle's final takeover offer.

The $24 a share bid is one of many that Oracle has made since it first attempted to buy its rival 17 months ago. But Oracle claimed that this latest one was absolutely the final one it would make. It has yet to respond to the rejection.

A PeopleSoft statement read: "The Board made its recommendation after careful consideration of the amended offer, including a thorough review with its financial and legal advisors, and acted upon the unanimous recommendation of its Transaction Committee of independent directors."

PeopleSoft CEO Dave Duffield added simply: "The Board concluded that PeopleSoft is worth substantially more than Oracle's latest offer." In fact, in the long tortuous bidding process, Oracle had already offered more than $24 in February when it made a $26 per share bid.

So, with Oracle promising that this was its final bid and PeopleSoft being very clear in its rejection, what was the point of the year-and-a-half crusade which has seen Oracle have to fight the DoJ in a US court and battle with the EC in Europe, not to mention pay lawyers and advisors a small fortune in preparing and repreparing bids, each and every one of which has been rejected?

Well, it has managed to relieve PeopleSoft of its CEO Craig Conway and its VP of products and technology, Ram Gupta. Oracle looks stronger in the market. It also learnt some interesting snippets about what its competitors were up to - in particular Microsoft and that it had held merger talks with its main rival SAP. All that came out in the US trial.

Oracle is also in a good position to snap up PeopleSoft at a later date. But it is unlikely to keep pushing at the moment. The fight is officially a draw, but Oracle is in less pain.