PeopleSoft rolls with the punches

Little more than a week after projecting an image of confidence to customers, PeopleSoft Corp.'s chief executive officer Craig Conway is out of a job. The company's board today fired Conway, effective immediately, citing "a loss of confidence in Mr. Conway's ability to continue to lead the company."

PeopleSoft founder and chairman Dave Duffield will take Conway's place.

If that's not enough, the Justice Department today decided it would not appeal a ruling that effectively cleared the way for Oracle Corp. to proceed with its $7.7 billion hostile takeover of Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft, a battle that has lasted 15 months.

Analysts can't agreed whether Conway's termination means the company is preparing to accept Oracle's offer or dig in for a fight. Conway was staunchly opposed to the Oracle takeover.

For his part, Duffield said today in a conference call, "I'm here for the long term."

During its recent users' conference, Conway announced a $1 billion alliance with IBM Corp., fueling speculation that the Armonk, N.Y.-based technology giant would acquire PeopleSoft.

PeopleSoft's enterprise resource management software is used in about 65 civilian agencies and the Defense Department.

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