Oracle Corp.'s bid for rival enterprise software vendor PeopleSoft Inc. got a boost last month when a federal judge ruled that the combination wouldn't violate U.S. antitrust law. But the acquisition that Oracle first proposed in June 2003 is far from a done deal. Potential obstacles include an appeal by the Justice Department, opposition from European Union regulators, PeopleSoft's poison pill defense and the possibility that other bidders could come forward.

Michael Dominy, director of enterprise services at information technology consulting firm The Yankee Group of Boston, says Oracle's acquisition of PeopleSoft is still months away, if not longer. "The next major development will be around what happens in Europe," Dominy says, noting that EU antitrust regulators have requested information from Oracle. "The European regulators have no sense of urgency about this, unlike Oracle," he adds. Plus, the EU seems intent on watching out for the interests of Oracle's and PeopleSoft's biggest rival, German ERP vendor SAP AG.

In the meantime, Dominy suggests that all companies should be reviewing the viability of their IT vendors, since Oracle's acquisition of PeopleSoft would likely set off additional consolidation in the enterprise software marketplace.

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