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Alorie Gilbert

Staff Writer, CNET

Oracle is sketching a broad outline of its $10 billion PeopleSoft merger plans, but it’s keeping major details, such as how many workers it plans to lay off, under wraps.

During a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday, Oracle President Charles Phillips reiterated his company’s plan to complete development on the new versions of PeopleSoft’s two main product lines and maintain the products for the next 10 years. Phillips also said he’ll be heading over to PeopleSoft’s headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif., on Wednesday to kick start the merger work.

“We’ve been thinking about this for 18 months and have a pretty solid plan,” Phillips said. “We are hard at work.”

Oracle announced the $10 billion deal on Monday, bringing to a surprise close a hostile-takeover saga that has hobbled the buyout target for more than a year.

Other details Phillips offered on Tuesday included the following:

• Oracle plans to maintain ties with PeopleSoft’s expansive software dealer network, which PeopleSoft inherited in its acquisition of J.D. Edwards last year. It views the dealers, which cater to small and midsize companies, as a perfect avenue for selling a new version of Oracle’s programs aimed at that segment.

• Oracle is reviewing PeopleSoft’s many marketing and development alliances, including one just recently signed with IBM. Oracle may toss some out, but Phillips was not ready to say which. He added, however, that Oracle is not interested in adding more IBM technology to the mix.

• Oracle estimated months ago that it would slash 6,000 jobs to wring costs out of the merger, but the company has yet to discuss its official lay-off plans. Phillips said only that administrative jobs are a likely target, while the company hopes to retain key engineers and customer support staff.

• With the release of PeopleSoft 9, the next major release, Oracle plans to keep PeopleSoft’s designs and its technology foundation intact.

• Oracle is interested in eventually luring PeopleSoft customers that run their systems on an IBM database into switching to the Oracle database, Phillips said.

Oracle expects to complete the acquisition by Dec. 30. The company is likely to offer more details about the integration of the companies around that time.