Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Oracle + Peoplesoft = ?

Posted by - December 15, 2004

by Doug Millison for SiliconValleyWatcher.com

Larry Ellison got his way - and what self-respecting billionaire doesn't? - but what are the prospects for Oracle's acquisition of PeopleSoft? Not good, says Silicon Valley's leading newspaper.

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Oracle-CEO and founder Larry Ellison: Bad perspectives?

San Francisco Chronicle writer Benjamin Pimental telegraphs the sad news in the first sentence of his article on the front page of today's business section: "What do you get when you combine a company run by an Armani-clad executive known for take-no-prisoners tactics with a firm led by a fatherly founder who hands out bagels and lets his workers wear flannel to work?"

Merging employees from the two incompatible cultures is considered the prime challenge:

"They are two different cultures," said Richard Stiller, a Cupertino human resources consultant who has been involved in more than 20 mergers.


Referring to Oracle, he said, "They're the barbarians. It's take no prisoners. A guy like Ellison never lets them relax."

On the other hand, he said, PeopleSoft is much like the old Hewlett- Packard Co., whose founders popularized the famed HP Way, which put heavy emphasis on the welfare of employees.

Kinikin said, "I think a lot of those people who wanted to manage by walking around and having bagels every Friday are probably going to leave -- because that's not the Oracle way. The Oracle way is about survival of the fittest."

Economic forces may keep together a workforce that culture might otherwise separate, however. Given the current tight Silicon Valley job market, chances are good that PeopleSoft employees will learn to grin and bear it, assuming that they don't get the ax in the inevitable post-merger layoffs.

Links:

When firms merge, a clash of cultures: Oracle, PeopleSoft managing styles couldn't be more different, by Benjamin Pimentel, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 December 2004

What's the story? Doug Millison also edits OnlineJournalist.org, "on a need-to-know basis"

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