Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Another Notch for Larry Ellison

Jon Edwards’ “Two Americas” speech during the 2004 presidential campaign talked about “one America that does the work, another America that reaps the reward. One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks…One America that is struggling to get by, another America that can buy anything it wants, even a Congress and a president.”

During the past 18 months, one ongoing news story has especially personified the Two Americas: Oracle Corp.’s continuous attempt to take over PeopleSoft Inc. Oracle finally succeeded and will take over PeopleSoft for $10.3 billion.

This story has that genuine Two Americas flavor because of the media’s simultaneous focus on: 1) Larry Ellison (Oracle’s CEO) constantly thumping his chest and preening his ego and bragging about how many PeopleSoft jobs will be eliminated when he takes over; and 2) the financial fears (you know, home foreclosures, evictions, mouths to feed) of the 6,000 to 12,000 PeopleSoft employees whose jobs are threatened.

Keeping PeopleSoft employees happy won’t be as important to Oracle as pleasing most of the customers that it will inherit, according to AMR Research Analyst Jim Shepherd. Some PeopleSoft customers have expressed serious reservations about the deal, and have threatened to defect to other companies specializing in software support. (Come on, don’t just talk about it; do it!)

PeopleSoft desperately wanted to remain independent, driven in part by the company’s deep-rooted disdain for Oracle’s products, as well as Ellison’s blunt and sometimes ruthless management style.

Pleasanton, CA, where PeopleSoft is based, is apt to be severely affected by the layoffs of thousands of PeopleSoft employees who live and work there. Presumably, we can all look forward to future split-screen Two-Americas news items about laid-off PeopleSoft employees (and the struggling merchants who used to have them as customers) and the incredible wealth and trappings of Larry Ellison.

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