Week in review: Oracle gets rejected

PeopleSoft rejects a hostile bid from Oracle, Sun holds its Java conference and Microsoft buys an antivirus technology developer.

Jeff Pelline Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Jeff Pelline is editor of CNET News.com. Jeff promises to buy a Toyota Prius once hybrid cars are allowed in the carpool lane with solo drivers.
Jeff Pelline
3 min read
Though the lazy days of summer are fast approaching, the tech world is anything but idle: PeopleSoft rejected a hostile bid from Oracle, Sun held its Java conference and Microsoft bought an antivirus technology developer.

PeopleSoft formally turned down Oracle's unsolicited takeover bid, arguing that the deal raises antitrust concerns and "dramatically undervalues" the software maker. Instead, PeopleSoft said it would proceed with its planned $1.7 billion buyout of J.D. Edwards and it filed the required paperwork to win approval with the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The plot thickened when J.D. Edwards announced that it would sue Oracle, contending that the database maker has interfered illegally in its planned merger with PeopleSoft. "Oracle's unsolicited offer for PeopleSoft will only destroy value for our companies' shareholders, customers and employees--and the technology community overall," J.D. Edwards Chief Executive Dob Dutkowsky said.

The lawsuit, filed in J.D. Edwards' home state of Colorado, alleges that Oracle has "tortiously interfered" with the buyout and seeks at least $1.7 billion in damages.

Java perks
Sun held its Java conference and announced a slew of deals to expand the use of its programming language. In one deal, Sun said Dell and Hewlett-Packard would ship Java technology on all PCs, circumventing Microsoft, which has been battling to remove Java from Windows XP.

Jumping on the wireless bandwagon, Sun also announced an alliance with cell phone makers that's aimed at making it easier to deploy Java applications on personal digital assistants (PDAs), cell phones and "smart" phones. "We are simplifying the whole process of getting applications to market," Juan Dewar, senior director of Sun's consumer, mobility and strategic solutions group, told CNET News.com.

In a speech, Sun Chief Executive Scott McNealy announced that Sun's computer gear would be used by HBO and Cinemax networks, a further sign that it is making inroads against the competition.

Microsoft's antivirus play
Not to be outdone, at least on another front, Microsoft announced plans to buy intellectual property from GeCad Software, a Romanian antivirus developer, to improve security in Windows. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Customers told us they needed a safer, more trustworthy computing experience to help combat the threats posted by those who write viruses and malicious code," said Mike Nash, Microsoft's vice president of security business.

The acquisition also creates new competition for existing antivirus software makers, including Network Associates, Symantec and Computer Associates International.

Spam crackdown
Like computer viruses, spam continues to rank as a major annoyance for consumers. This week, the Federal Trade Commission asked Congress for the authority to crack down on spam. Proposed legislation, called the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Act, would grant the FTC the authority to work more closely with the FBI and foreign law enforcement agencies in order to find and prosecute violators.

Congress also got into the act. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York teamed up with the Christian Coalition in introducing a bill that would allow consumers to sue spammers for $1,000 per unlawful message. The so-called Spam Act is the latest in a series of antispam bills that have been introduced in Congress this year.

Also of note
As soon as Monday, SCO Group may ask a judge to stop IBM from selling Unix products, the latest step in the legal battle between SCO and IBM...Sony offered more details about its high-end Qualia product line, including news that only the company's top executives will decide what the products will be...A legal dispute between Apple and The Open Group over ownership of the Unix trademark is heating up, with both companies seeking an exchange of factual documents by August....Gateway is embarking on a news strategy to expand its consumer-electronics lineup, Chief Executive Ted Waitt said in an exclusive interview with CNET News.com.