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Oracle takes wraps off apps program

Company removes 2013 deadline for halting development on new releases of its PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, Siebel software.

Oracle unveiled its Applications Unlimited program on Tuesday, removing a 2013 deadline for halting development of new releases of its PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and Siebel Systems software.

Under the program, Oracle will continue issuing new versions of PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and Siebel applications in the foreseeable future. It had previously said it would discontinue support for those companies' programs after 2013.

Right now, Oracle is melding their technologies into its next-generation architecture, Oracle Fusion. But the change means it will keep putting out updates beyond the anticipated debut of Oracle Fusion applications in 2008.

"This is a little added insurance for our customers and something they've been asking for," said Jesper Andersen, senior vice president of Oracle's application strategy. He added that some large PeopleSoft customers, for example, may need more time to roll out their applications across several continents.

In addition to removing the deadline, Oracle is dedicating development teams and assigning general managers to each of the three lines of applications, Andersen said. Customers of PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and Siebel will also provide input on the product plans for the software they use.

The decision to extend the deadline on new releases should bode well for Oracle and its customers, analysts said.

"This is more of a commitment than we've heard in the past from Oracle," said Kevin Buttigieg, an analyst at A.G. Edwards & Sons. "They've said in the past they would extend the period of enhancements, but nothing as open-ended as this."

He added that Oracle may be feeling the pressure from SAP, its archrival, which is trying to lure customers away by raising doubts about Oracle's Fusion, its delivery date and the ease of migration.

Oracle has 30,000 customers who use its J.D. Edwards, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Siebel applications, the company noted.