WinInfo Daily UPDATE, December 14, 2004

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In the News

- MSN Ships Revolutionary Desktop Search Tool Beta
- Oracle Finally Snags PeopleSoft for $10.3 Billion

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

MSN Ships Revolutionary Desktop Search Tool Beta

Yesterday afternoon, Microsoft's MSN unit unveiled a beta version of the MSN Toolbar Suite, a sweeping set of desktop and Web searching tools that promises to give Windows users many of the search features that the company originally promised for Longhorn. The MSN Toolbar Suite includes the taskbar-based MSN Deskbar, Windows Explorer and Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE)-based toolbars, and the MSN Toolbar for Outlook. And, unlike a hastily released rival desktop search tool from Google, the MSN Toolbar Suite keeps your local file searches on your hard disk and doesn't require a Web server to display results.
"People expect Microsoft to do a fantastic job on client code and searching within Windows and Office, and what we have delivered is what people expected of us: the best way to search your PC," Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president, MSN Information Services & Merchant Platform, said. "Our ambition for search is to provide the ultimate information tool that can find anything you're looking for." As Microsoft officials have been saying for more than a year, finding information on your hard disk shouldn't take longer than performing a search on Google does. That line was so effective, in fact, that Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs borrowed it when he introduced his company's Spotlight search technology, which will debut in mid-2005.
The MSN Toolbar Suite is most notable for the way it delivers on most of Longhorn's file-search promises, features that many users assumed would require the oft-delayed WinFS file-storage technology. But MSN should also be credited with creating a suite of add-ons that integrate somewhat seamlessly into Windows and provide logical entry points for searching on the desktop, in Windows Explorer and IE windows, and in your email application. That means you can perform searches in a more natural way than if you had to run a separate application or always use a Web browser.
Microsoft had been touting its upcoming desktop search tool for months. At the company's July 2004 Financial Analysts Meeting, Mehdi said that Microsoft would ship a beta version of the tool by the end of the year. "\[It offers\] local PC and email searching that we have built as a joint effort across the company, the Microsoft Office Team, the Microsoft Research Team, the Knowledge Interchange Team, the folks on the Longhorn Team, and our MSN Search engineers," he said. "We have put together a working version of Local PC File Search."
The MSN Toolbar Suite is currently available as a beta release; you can download it from the MSN Web site (see the first URL below). The final version of the MSN Toolbar Suite is expected in first quarter 2005. For more information about this exciting Windows add-on, refer to my exhaustive preview on the SuperSite for Windows (see the second URL below).
http://beta.toolbar.msn.com
http://www.itprotoday.com/article/reviews/msn-toolbar-suite-preview.aspx

Oracle Finally Snags PeopleSoft for $10.3 Billion

After 18 months of haggling, legal battles, and bad press, database giant Oracle finally closed the deal to purchase rival PeopleSoft for $10.3 billion. PeopleSoft's board, which resisted earlier overtures from Oracle, finally agreed to the deal yesterday, when Oracle upped its previous offer by 18 percent.
"Today we announced the agreement to acquire PeopleSoft," Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said. "This merger gives Oracle even more scale and momentum ... \[and\] works because we will have more customers, which increases our ability to invest more in applications development and support. We intend to enhance PeopleSoft 8, develop a PeopleSoft 9, enhance JD Edwards 5, and develop a JD Edwards 6. We intend to immediately extend and improve support for existing JD Edwards and PeopleSoft customers worldwide."
The deal marks the end of one of the most cantankerous corporate mergers in PC history, with executives from both companies publicly joking and complaining about their rivals during virtually the entire process. Oracle's pursuit of PeopleSoft devolved into a hostile takeover attempt after PeopleSoft quickly rejected Oracle's initial bid. Antitrust regulators in both the United States and Europe investigated the proposed merger; the US Department of Justice (DOJ) unsuccessfully tried to block the deal. In recent weeks, however, the PeopleSoft board began reaching out to Oracle, and after PeopleSoft let Oracle investigate its finances for the first time, Oracle agreed to a higher price.
Already the world's largest seller of database products, Oracle will now become the world's largest seller of applications for accounting, financial, and human resources software that runs on top of databases. The deal positions Oracle to better compete with chief rivals IBM, Microsoft, and SAP.

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