• United States

Tilting at windmills

Jun 30, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsOracle

J.D. Edwards CEO Bob Dutkowsky is suing Oracle, saying it ‘illegally interfered in its proposed merger with PeopleSoft.’ Except there’s nothing illegal about Oracle’s move. But if the sale of J.D. Edwards to PeopleSoft doesn’t go through, Dutkowsky loses

Larry Ellison has been described as the rudest, most arrogant man in software – and that’s by his friends – but he seems to be the most honest character in the Oracle/PeopleSoft/J.D. Edwards saga!

J.D. Edwards CEO Bob Dutkowsky is suing Oracle, saying it “illegally interfered in its proposed merger with PeopleSoft.” Except there’s nothing illegal about Oracle’s move. But if the sale of J.D. Edwards to PeopleSoft doesn’t go through, Dutkowsky loses out on a $2.5 million personal payout. Maybe that’s the interference he’s miffed at.

PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway is suing Oracle, claiming Ellison’s company is out “to injure PeopleSoft and to cripple its ability to compete.” Cripple? Larry wants to put you out of business! Conway also is leading customers in cheers about how great the product is – as if the stockholders care about anything except what will deliver them the biggest profit.

Then there’s the whole antitrust thing.

Conway says that regulators would turn down an Oracle takeover even though that question never arose when he aggressively pursued a merger of applications with Oracle late last year. But he’s found a willing, and powerful, stooge to run with this faulty assertion. Oddly, the worst character in all this doesn’t even work for a technology company.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal now has sued Oracle on antitrust grounds but had to so narrowly define the arena (“large enterprise software systems”) that J.D. Edwards isn’t included. His definition would be laughed out of any tribunal staffed by technologists, but lawyers and judges aren’t technologists and sometimes believe real nonsense. Blumenthal also is on record as saying that Oracle’s purchase of PeopleSoft would lead to lower-quality software. Evidently his sideline posturing in the Microsoft case has made him an expert on judging quality!

Not content with tilting at the software windmill, Blumenthal also has launched a suit to prevent three colleges (none of which are in Connecticut) from switching their affiliation from the Big East athletic conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference. According to “Don Richard,” the ACC is attempting to “destroy the Big East so that the ACC can have for itself all that we’ve created and invested over the years.” Just like Oracle is “attempting to destroy” PeopleSoft. Evidently Blumenthal can only sing one note!

All this publicity might be just a stepping stone to higher office – at taxpayers’ expense, of course. That’s something for the voters of Connecticut to remember when election time rolls around again.

Tip of the week

Twenty years ago, Jon Postel and Paul Mockapetris thought up a way for computers to find each other on a network, and DNS was born. It seems like such a simple idea but it made possible all of the network communication we rely on today – e-mail, Web services, file transfer and more. Happy birthday, DNS!