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Oracle users fret over forced migration

Will Larry force them to give up acquired products?

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Most companies using products from firms acquired by Oracle plan to keep running them as long as support is available.

But many also fear that Oracle will ultimately force them to migrate to Oracle-built software, according to a survey of 449 members of the US-based Oracle Applications Users Group.

The survey found that 61 percent of PeopleSoft and Siebel users think that Oracle will eventually push them to Oracle-built technologies. Nonetheless, 55 percent of users of all Oracle products called the vendor's enterprise product road map "somewhat clear."

The Internet survey of OAUG members, conducted last October for the user group by Unisphere Media, sought to clarify end users' attitudes about and plans for Oracle's Fusion middleware.

Oracle touts the Fusion technology as a way to link its software to the products it gained in recent years from companies it acquired, such as JD Edwards, Siebel Systems and PeopleSoft. Oracle has said it plans to release the first Fusion modules this year.

In the OAUG survey, 63 percent of the respondents who are using only Oracle-developed software said they plan to install Oracle Fusion middleware within two years. Meanwhile, among respondents who use products that Oracle acquired, only half said they're even interested in Fusion at this point.

In fact, respondents at one in four of the companies surveyed reported that they're not sure what value the middleware would add to their IT operations, while half said that lack of expertise would force them to avoid the technology.

Users also expressed fear that Oracle's $8.5 billion acquisition of BEA Systems earlier this month will blunt work on updating applications, despite assurances from CEO Larry Ellison that the new technology will boost Fusion plans.

"There's always the question whether [the BEA acquisition] is going to dilute Oracle's attention from their existing products and services," said Robert Lepanto, president of the New York City Oracle Application User Group. "BEA was a major middleware company. Whether or not [the acquisition] limits choice is a real concern for users."



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