Oracle, user group unsettled on events

The Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) and Oracle Corp. remain divided over who should control the conferences aimed at users of the company's business applications, nearly three months after talks for resolving the feud took place.

The Atlanta-based OAUG was due to hold its fall conference in San Diego this week without any participation by Oracle, but last Friday afternoon the user group decided to postpone the event until late November because of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Oracle is refusing to take part in the OAUG's biannual conferences and has proposed that they be folded into its own AppsWorld event a suggestion that the independent user group has rejected thus far.

In late June, the OAUG began a new survey of how its members want to proceed, and a spokesman for the user group last week said the survey has now been completed. He wouldn't comment on the results and said he's not sure when they will be disclosed.

The OAUG is at a crossroads, said Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting in Daly City, Calif. But Oracle shouldn't be too cavalier about its relationship with the OAUG, he added.

"Oracle can't run its applications business without the goodwill of its customers, and that means mending fences with the OUAG," Greenbaum said. "I think Oracle will figure this out sooner or later."

Oracle didn't respond to several requests for comment on its dispute with the OAUG.

Some OAUG members are especially rankled that Oracle is staying away from the group's conferences at a time when users are facing a major upgrade to the E-Business Suite 11i applications released by the vendor last year.

"I was looking forward to [Oracle developers] being present to talk about their products," said Hem Chari, an IT analyst at General Electric Co.'s Atlanta-based GE Power Systems unit. In particular, Chari said, he wants to see what Oracle offers to facilitate e-commerce functionality.

GE Power Systems runs Oracle's purchasing software and plans to migrate to 11i within the next two years, Chari added.

The OAUG spokesman said Oracle business partners will be able to showcase its products at the group's conference.

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