Customers, analysts question Oracle's Hyperion buy

An Oracle purchase of business intelligence vendor Hyperion Solutions will likely benefit Oracle, but Hyperion users could find cutbacks in product upgrades and less negotiating leverage, users and analysts said. Oracle Thursday agreed to buy the maker of business intelligence tools for US$3.3 billion.

Although Hyperion CEO and President Godfrey R. Sullivan wrote customers, telling them in a letter that the deal would be good for both companies, that view was not universally shared.

Bart Klein, vice president and manager of application development at UMB Financial, noted that Hyperion is the latest of the best-of-breed vendors used by the bank to be snapped up by Oracle. The bank, he said, also uses Siebel CRM software, Stellent content management tools and Versatility call center products, which have all been acquired by Oracle.

"What is next?" Klein said. "While not our intention to put all of our technology investments in the hands of a single vendor, the consolidation of the industry has led to precisely that. I am very concerned that businesses will lose leverage as a result of this continued consolidation of major technology solutions."

David Dowling, Hyperion Financial Management administrator at Flint Group, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based supplier of printing inks, plates and pigments, said he also has concerns about the deal. "As Hyperion has grown as a company their customer service and support has declined," he said. "I think this will be a step in same direction."

In addition, Flint now runs the financial management package from Hyperion on Microsoft's SQL Server, and Dowling said he is concerned that Oracle will force the company to move to its own database.

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