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PeopleSoft: .Net is IT 'asbestos'

The software maker's president and CEO, Craig Conway, warns that running enterprise software on PCs--as Microsoft's .Net strategy calls for--is a "known bad thing."

    PeopleSoft President and CEO Craig Conway has described Microsoft's .Net initiative as the information technology equivalent of asbestos.

    Speaking at the software company's 2003 Leadership Summit in Sydney, Australia, Conway said the state of the global economy makes it imperative for businesses to control IT costs. He advocated Linux-based server-centric operating environments for enterprise applications as one way to achieve this goal.

    "The answer to the death grip Microsoft has on the industry is an alternative operating system," he told an audience of over 200 customers and partners. "That's why PeopleSoft has decided to port all our applications to Linux," he said, adding that the operating system now enjoys sufficiently broad support to be ready for applications that are key to a company's goals.

    This decision, he said, positions PeopleSoft as "pro-choice, not anti-Microsoft".

    Conway then added that Microsoft's .Net strategy will not help business to control the costs of their enterprise applications, as it assumes code will be executed by PCs. The .Net initiative promotes Microsoft's operating system and other software as the infrastructure for building and delivering applications over the Internet.

    "Running enterprise software on a PC is a known bad thing. It's like asbestos," he said. ".Net is a home formula to make your own asbestos. PeopleSoft is absolutely convinced enterprise software should not be resident on PCs."

    Conway also called for the elimination of middleware, describing it as it as an investment that business makes grudgingly and that consumes budget better spent on new infrastructure capable of boosting the bottom line. Conway portrayed PeopleSoft business software's built-in integration with rivals SAP and Oracle as his alternative to middleware, then went on to describe leading middleware vendor BEA Systems as a happy PeopleSoft customer.

    The rest of Conway's speech focused on Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft's intention to focus on the customer experience by delivering enterprise applications that are easier to deploy and cheaper to own than previous technologies.

    "Every industry matures to the point where it focuses on the customer experience," he said, adding that the company has given 500 developers the task of ensuring the next releases of its products offer rapid installation and simple customization, in order to reduce the cost to customers of acquiring and operating enterprise applications.

    ZDNet Australia's Simon Sharwood reported from Sydney.