Oracle bid for PeopleSoft is not anti-competitive, a top exec at the third of the ERP software market's triumvirate has claimed.
Managing director for SAP Australia, Geraldine McBride, told journalists that she disagreed with claims by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) that the takeover would damage the market, leading to less choice and higher prices. "The DoJ definition of competition is limited; I don't agree with its definition," she said. "Regulatory bodies shouldn't interfere with market activity, it isn't healthy for industry.
"The shakeout was inevitable and we aren't concerned," she continued. "This consolidation activity is an attempt to get greater scale and size in the market, which is why SAP competes on all levels. We have solutions covering every segment of the market and that is the key."
McBride is quick to support competition, but obviously doesn't mind a little less of it with Oracle's hostile takeover bid set to go to trial in June. The DoJ has decided that Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP form the entire market for high-end resource software and sees any takeover of PeopleSoft as removing the third leg of a stool. For this reason, it decided to sue Oracle to prevent the bid going ahead.
Just under a fortnight ago, the DoJ also revealed that it has evidence Oracle has previously fudged its prices, in order to prevent SAP and PeopleSoft winning contracts.
This revelation saw Oracle apply to get access to government information on itself and this was approved on Friday in a special hearing on the matter. Oracle had claimed that without access to the information that the DoJ holds on it - given by competitors, partners and buyers - it couldn't properly defend itself in the lawsuit.
SAP has produced about 81,000 documents in the case, Microsoft more than 20,000 pages, PeopleSoft close to two million pages and Lawson Software 3,000 pages plus 300MB of electronic data, lawyers for the companies said.
However, while McBride has no competition concerns, Australia's own consumer watchdog has raised concern about the bid, claiming it will reduce competition locally.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it is concerned that reduced competition could breach the Trade Practices Act. ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said that because the matter is before US courts, no action will be taken at this point. However, it is contacting local enterprise application software customers.
Samuel said Australian customers who have been contacted claim the proposed acquisition will restrict their choices, especially when it comes to financial management and human resource management software. "The ACCC considers that barriers to competing with Oracle and PeopleSoft are significant," he said.
Nevertheless, McBride said: "Companies don't want five different vendors because it means investing in additional skills sets. Customers are coming to us wanting us right across the enterprise; we aren't pushing this trend. An older version of PeopleSoft costs as much to upgrade as a brand new SAP implementation."
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