Oracle User Group Dismisses Show-Hosting Proposal

SAN MATEO (04/27/2000) - Stressing its independence from Oracle Corp., the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) has rejected the company's offer to serve as the future host for its North American user conferences.

Oracle had proposed the two user conferences merge into a single spring event that Oracle would host, OAUG officials said. The OAUG board of directors was swayed by the results of a survey of the OAUG membership that urged the group not to give control over to Oracle.

For 2001, the OAUG will hold its spring conference in Atlanta and its fall event in San Diego. The main control of these events "would have been lost to us," said Jeremy Young, OAUG president.

Young made the official announcement at the 10th Annual OAUG North American Spring Conference, under way in Philadelphia.

"Our membership felt that this did not fit in with our model of independence," said Young, who added that maintaining independence from Oracle was the primary concern of those surveyed.

The users group will continue to focus on its two main concerns: educating users about Oracle technology and products; and fostering networking among its users, Young said.

The OAUG will also continue its work to influence Oracle "to improve Oracle applications," Young said. "There independence is important," he said. "If we were beholden to Oracle in some way, that independence wouldn't be maintained."

As for the reaction from Oracle officials, Young said, "we have some discussions scheduled. There hasn't been a particular reaction."

In response to the OAUG decision, Oracle officials will continue in their outreach efforts to users through the group. "We're still in discussions to determine the best way for our users to get information about applications," said a spokesman for Oracle.

The OAUG, which sponsors events in other continents such as Australia and Europe, will be continuing its "positive partnership" with Oracle, said Don Payne, vice president of the OAUG board. Oracle has participated in OAUG's conferences "since day one," Payne said. "We anticipate that will continue."

The OAUG was formed by users in the San Francisco Bay area in May 1990 when 32 users of the Oracle Application suite gathered to create an independent forum.

Based in Atlanta, the OAUG counts more than 15,000 user members worldwide, and can be reached at www.oaug.org.

Eugene Grygo is an InfoWorld senior editor.

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