One day after Oracle announced its first initiative as a newly merged company, rival SAP has responded with a new maintenance and migration service aimed at its customers running PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards applications.

The offer, called SAP Safe Passage, extends maintenance and support services to products from PeopleSoft and the company it acquired in 2003, J.D. Edwards & Co. (JDE), SAP said Wednesday. Oracle bought PeopleSoft last month for US$10.3 billion.

Customers already using or planning to license SAP's new flagship ERP software, mySAP ERP, will also be able to take advantage of the incorporated SAP NetWeaver integration platform, which includes connectors for PeopleSoft and JDE applications, according to SAP.

At the same time, SAP will offer substantial incentives to customers who decide to migrate their PeopleSoft and JDE applications entirely, said SAP spokesman Markus Berner.

"The Safe Passage Program is aimed at customers who are uncertain about how the newly merged Oracle-PeopleSoft company will take care of them," Berner said.

SAP has around 2,000 customers who also use PeopleSoft or JDE products, according to Berner.

To provide the necessary maintenance and support services for PeopleSoft and JDE applications, SAP acquired TomorrowNow. The company specialises in providing third-party maintenance and support for users of both of these product lines.

SAP will charge customers a maintenance fee of 17 percent of the original purchase price of their PeopleSoft and JDE software licences, according to Berner.

Although the German software giant has been preying on PeopleSoft customers throughout Oracle's 18-month campaign to acquire PeopleSoft, the Safe Passage Program is the first new service aimed directly at customers of the newly merged company.

On Tuesday, Oracle announced plans to build the new Fusion applications suite as a migration point for its Oracle, PeopleSoft and JDE applications products. Fusion will be a Java-based, service-oriented architecture with an automated upgrade process from all three applications.