Larry Plays "The Donald"

If you've watched any TV in the past week and a half, you know that Donald Trump will return this Thursday with a new round of The Apprentice. The hit show for General Electric's (NYSE: GE  ) NBC unit has allowed Trump to enjoy a resurgence and gloss over an embarrassing bankruptcy filing while practically trademarking the phrase "you're fired!" Till this week, that is.

On Friday, Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL  ) CEO Larry Ellison channeled Trump in dumping more than 5,000 employees from his company's roster of more than 50,000. The firings are part of a plan to integrate business-software maker PeopleSoft, which Oracle acquired in December for $10.3 billion.

Ellison provided details of his strategy this morning, during a several-hours-long webcast that was still going as of this writing. The plan comes less than two weeks after "OracleSoft's" opening day and, besides the firings, involves a pair of expected moves. First, Oracle will support PeopleSoft's product lines until at least 2013 and will develop and release PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.0, the next version of PeopleSoft's software. Second, Ellison said the company's expanded development team will work on "Project Fusion," a new applications architecture that would supposedly combine the best features of Oracle's own business applications with those of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards, which PeopleSoft acquired only weeks before Oracle began its pursuit of PeopleSoft.

If the strategy sounds bland, well, it is. And that's probably intentional. The worst thing Ellison could do right now is to scare current PeopleSoft customers into thinking about switching to alternatives from SAP (NYSE: SAP  ) or Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , which recently went on sale to woo skittish PeopleSoft owners. We won't know whether Ellison has succeeded for at least a quarter or two. In the meantime, Fools who own Oracle stock ought to hope that Ellison's propensity to play "The Donald" begins and ends with the layoffs.

For related Foolishness:

Can book smarts beat street smarts? Tim isn't sure, but he's betting on book smarts. That's probably because he has a master's degree. Snob. All the news that's fit to print about the upcoming season can be found at the Trump's Apprentice discussion board. Only at Fool.com.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers owns shares of Oracle. To find out what other stocks Tim owns, check out his Fool profile. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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