18 June 2003 Oracle will succeed in its hostile takeover bid for rival PeopleSoft, believes Hasso Plattner, co-founder and chairman of SAP, following Oracle’s increased bid for PeopleSoft (see news story)
“They [Oracle] will probably force the PeopleSoft board to recommend that shareholders accept. Then, PeopleSoft will be gone,” said Plattner. “Is this good for the industry? I don’t know,” he added.
However, he was doubtful whether Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s plan to migrate PeopleSoft users to Oracle 11i was either desirable or workable — PeopleSoft’s software is arguably better than Oracle’s, he suggested.
“It wouldn’t work to buy a company, stop selling and stop development… If they want to replace 11i with PeopleSoft, that would make sense,” he said. Plattner was speaking in a question and answer session with users on the final day of Sapphire 2003, SAP’s user conference in Orlando, Florida.
Plattner also delivered his verdict on the future of open source software, predicting that in five years time there would be only two operating systems in widespread use — Linux and Microsoft Windows.
Plattner likened open source software development to scientific research, in which scientists from around the world work in a combination of co-operation and competition. “In science, innovation is not owned by the inventor, but delivered to the world and picked up by others. That can be done in software,” said Plattner.
In operating systems, vendors had forfeited the right to their own operating systems by the way that they had treated Unix. “There was a huge promise that all Unixes could have been equal, but companies added a little bit here and a little bit there. They just had to make their Unix different,” he said.
“The price they have to pay is that they lose the right to own the operating system,” he added.
“I believe that in five years time there will only be two operating systems: open source and Microsoft’s. I believe that will be true of databases,” said Plattner.
A database system is significantly easier and less complicated to develop than an operating system, claimed Plattner. Furthermore, customers were expressing an increasing level of interest in running SAP’s software on the popular MySQL open source database. “We can, but it’s very limited,” admitted Plattner.
However, the recent deal to release the technology of SAP DB, SAP’s own relational database technology developed on Software AG’s Adabas-D database, means that MySQL will very quickly be able to catch up with the ‘big three’ database vendors: IBM, Oracle and Microsoft.
Office software should follow soon, but human resources or financial software for the Indian and Pakistani markets, for example, would be very difficult to develop in the open source model, he suggested.