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OracleSoft's Opening Day

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By Tim Beyers
January 7, 2005

Today's the day. After securing more than 97% of PeopleSoft's (Nasdaq: PSFT) outstanding shares at the second deadline for its $10.3 billion tender offer, Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) got the keys to the business software maker this morning.

That's right. No more conspiracy theories, faux love letters, courtroom confessions, tantalizing teases, or so-called "final offers." As I write this, PeopleSoft is being transformed into an Oracle subsidiary. And that means the pressure is on. It's a good thing Oracle CEO Larry Ellison got in his victory jig last week, because now the pressure is on to answer several nagging questions: When will Oracle complete its integration of PeopleSoft? How many former PeopleSoft employees will be served with pink slips? Who will run the combined-applications business?

That last question triggered a small debate at our Oracle discussion board shortly before the new year. The argument, which began here, centered on whether current Oracle Applications boss Ron Wohl is the right guy to handle the talent being acquired from PeopleSoft. There's no easy answer, because Wohl is a 20-year Oracle veteran who oversaw the creation of the company's successful E-Business Suite. Yet PeopleSoft has been gaining in market share on Oracle and SAP (NYSE: SAP) in recent years.

Some analysts' skepticism toward the new "OracleSoft" could stem from concerns that Ellison's team may not be able to effectively bridge the so-called cultural divide that exists between the two companies. Apparently, Oracle is taking these concerns seriously. Industry trade journal eWEEK reported Tuesday that Wohl and Michael Rocha, who heads up global support services, have been replaced.

The Wohl situation is only one of hundreds of concerns that Oracle still needs to address. The first answers could come on Jan. 18, when the database king plans a webcast to discuss integration plans. That's good, because for shareholders, answers can't come soon enough.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers owns shares of Oracle. To find out what else is in his portfolio, check out his Fool profile. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.