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Ontario Technoblog

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

It's all a soap opera - Oracle, Siebel, IBM, NetSuite - Stay tuned next week for Oracle OpenWorld

This person is involved in this other person's business...this person hates this person...stay tuned until next week. In addition to what I've already noted, take a look at the latest from InfoWorld:

Oracle's agreement to buy Siebel Systems immediately raised questions about the future of Siebel's CRM OnDemand service - a venture in which Oracle rival IBM is deeply involved. Executives from both Siebel and Oracle say the hosted CRM (customer relationship management) service will go forward, but IBM is likely to be left out of Siebel's OnDemand future....

When Siebel CRM OnDemand launched two years ago, Siebel and IBM characterized it as a joint venture, developed and marketed jointly by the two companies. Now Siebel is casting IBM as a partner of convenience that can be abandoned without any customer disruption.

"Siebel CRM OnDemand was built on Siebel 7.5.2, and the fact is that that product line runs on any database and any application server," said Bruce Cleveland, Siebel's senior vice president of products. "We created a partnership with IBM and we chose for that partnership, for obvious reasons, to run it on WebSphere and DB2. There is no technical linkage. We can make a different decision going forward if we choose."

IBM did not have any executives available for immediate comment. An IBM spokesman said the company plans to continue supporting its joint customers with Siebel....

Siebel's competitors -- most notably Salesforce.com Inc., whose annual user conference was upstaged Monday by news of the Siebel/Oracle union -- are eager to portray the impending Oracle takeover as a disaster for Siebel's OnDemand customers. Six-year-old Salesforce.com has 308,000 subscribers for its CRM service, while Siebel's newer hosted software venture ended last quarter just shy of 40,000 users.

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff projected imminent death for the service. "Siebel on Demand, a joint venture between Siebel and IBM, will be the first to be buried," he wrote Monday in an e-mail message to Salesforce.com employees that was also released to the media. "Siebel on Demand is written exclusively on DB2 and Websphere and runs in IBM data centers. Oracle will kill it. Oracle does not sell DB2."...

"Oracle has much more incentive to optimize for their own software. I can certainly see this is going to be an issue going forward for DB2 customers," Kingstone said.

"It's going to be an uncomfortable relationship," Bradshaw said.

Uncomfortable relationships abound in this corporate combination. Oracle head Larry Ellison is a founder and the majority owner of NetSuite, another hosted-software company that competes with Siebel's CRM OnDemand. NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson is traveling this week and could not be reached for comment; Oracle also had nothing to say about how Ellison's personal stake in NetSuite will be affected by the Siebel deal.

Some of the questions about Siebel's absorption by Oracle won't be resolved until the deal's close, expected early next year. Still, Oracle executives and customers will have a forum for extended discussions next week: Oracle's OpenWorld user conference begins Sunday in San Francisco. Asked for more detail on Oracle's Siebel strategy, Oracle representatives say to tune in for what promises to be an eventful conference.

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