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PeopleSoft CEO Won't Be Asked to Take the Stand

In their antitrust fight, both the U.S. and Oracle say they don't need the executive's testimony.

June 29, 2004|From Bloomberg News

SAN FRANCISCO — Oracle Corp., battling a U.S. antitrust suit to block its $7.7-billion hostile bid for PeopleSoft Inc., said it would not ask PeopleSoft Chief Executive Craig Conway to testify at the trial.

Conway was supposed to testify for six hours today about competition in the market for business applications software. The Justice Department is suing Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle to stop the takeover on the grounds that it would reduce competition and lead to higher prices for financial and human resources software for large corporations.

Oracle attorney Dan Wall said Conway's testimony wasn't necessary because U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker already has heard testimony from Oracle executives and has been shown PeopleSoft documents that Wall said illustrate that PeopleSoft competes with many suppliers of business applications software, including Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software company.

"There's so little remaining purpose, it didn't seem worth it," Wall said.

Renata Hess, a Justice Department attorney, said the U.S. believed that it had called the witnesses from Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft it needed and did not plan to call Conway as a rebuttal witness.

The U.S. says that allowing Oracle, the third-largest supplier of business applications software, to buy No. 2-ranked PeopleSoft would give Oracle leverage to raise prices. The government says only Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP of Germany sell software for financial and human-resource management functions to large corporations.

To start the trial's fourth week, Oracle on Monday called the president and chief executive of Lawson Software Inc., John Coughlan, to rebut government claims that Lawson doesn't compete with Oracle and PeopleSoft for large, complex customers. Lawson's customers include HCA Inc., Target Corp., Safeway Inc. and McDonald's Corp., Coughlan said.

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