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PeopleSoft wants to interview Oracle executives

The company wants to interview a half dozen Oracle executives involved in support and applications for its California lawsuit against Oracle for alleged unfair business practices.

PeopleSoft wants to interview a half dozen Oracle executives for its California lawsuit against Oracle for alleged unfair business practices, according to a filing with the Alameda County Superior Court late Wednesday.

PeopleSoft, which is facing a hostile takeover attempt by Oracle, expects to be ready for trial in October. The company is seeking the court's permission to interview executives such as its executive vice president of global support services and its senior vice president of applications development. This request comes as PeopleSoft delves deeper into its allegations that Oracle misled the public and PeopleSoft customers on the level of support and ease of migrating to Oracle products.

PeopleSoft is also alleging in its lawsuit that Oracle is maintaining a "highly uncertain" tender offer by keeping its bid substantially below its current share price, delaying the resolution of disputes involving its offer in order to prolong the uncertainty of the deal, and is creating fear and doubt among PeopleSoft's current and future customers by the uncertainty of the transaction.

But for now, PeopleSoft wants to focus its interview and document requests on the support and ease of migration issue. The company is seeking to interview Oracle employees who have responsibility for supporting and developing software applications similar to PeopleSoft's products, because they would be familiar with enterprise support and migration issues, the filing stated.

PeopleSoft's list of depositions it is seeking includes Don Klaiss, Oracle vice president of manufacturing and distribution products; Mike Rocha, Oracle executive vice president of global support services; Steve Miranda, Oracle vice president applications development; John Wookey, Oracle senior vice president applications development; and Joel Summers, Oracle vice president of human resource management systems development. Two other Oracle managers are expected to be later added to the PeopleSoft list, according to the filing. PeopleSoft is seeking to conduct the interviews between mid-February and mid-March.

"These depositions will be the first wave of depositions we take aimed at proving all our claims," said Steve Swasey, a PeopleSoft spokesman. "We're aggressively pursuing all our claims against Oracle."

An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment on PeopleSoft's latest court filing.

The filing also stresses the effect the merger would have on California companies and its government agencies.

"PeopleSoft will show that the costs to one subset of PeopleSoft customers--the 70 California cities, schools and government agencies which use PeopleSoft products--would be at least hundreds of millions of dollars, a cost ultimately borne by the California taxpayer," the filing states.

Currently, the California state attorney general is playing a strong role in the multistate antitrust investigation, handling a large number of the interviews, said a source familiar with the multistate efforts.

Although California is reviewing the merger, it has not made a decision on whether it plans to file a lawsuit against Oracle, said a spokesman for the state attorney general's office. He declined to comment on the role California is playing in the multistate investigation.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is evaluating the merger and whether it will challenge the deal.

The European Commission and Canada's antitrust agencies are also reviewing the merger, but no decisions have been made. The European Commission has a deadline of March 30 to render its decision.