Sources for the story told USAToday.com that Justice Department attorneys are soliciting statements from Oracle and PeopleSoft customers, both current and potential, that could be used in an antitrust trial. Such a move is seen as a strong indicator that investigators may suggest that the department intervene and oppose Oracle's bid.
From the beginning, PeopleSoft has contended that Oracle simply wanted to hurt it and derail its now-completed acquisition of J.D. Edwards. The combination of PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards dropped Oracle from second to third place in the enterprise applications software market, so it wasn't hard to imagine that Oracle wanted to stop that purchase. (German giant SAP
PeopleSoft's also been none too happy about Oracle's intention to stop actively marketing its products, should it succeed in buying the company. While it would keep providing support for PeopleSoft customers, Oracle would eventually try to switch them over to its own software.
Antitrust opposition from the Justice Department would mean that the ordeal, which has already dragged on for four months, would continue during the antitrust trial. If that's the case, something that could ultimately protect PeopleSoft could end up hurting it in the near term.
Business software buyers, uncertain about making initial or further investments in PeopleSoft products given their unknown future, would have to keep waiting and weighing their options. There's no guarantee, after all, that the Justice Department would win its case.