Microsoft rules out PeopleSoft bid; SAP not currently on radar screen

The Financial Times reports today that Microsoft on Sunday night ruled itself out of a white knight bid for PeopleSoft, who is fighting a $7.7 billion hostile takeover by Oracle.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the Financial Times that PeopleSoft did not compare with SAP, the German enterprise software vendor that Microsoft considered buying last year.

The FT asked Ballmer whether Microsoft, with its $60 billion cash pile, could be the white knight for PeopleSoft. Ballmer said: “I don’t think so, we like our focus on small and medium-[sized] companies, and if we weren’t going to be focused on small and medium companies, you know what we wanted to buy…”

Ballmer said SAP was not currently “on the radar screen,” but “one should never say never.”

The FT’s interview covered other topics including Microsoft’s antitrust hearings in Brussels, illegal music downloading and the iPod (“Most of the music on iPods is still stolen music and not in the Apple format,” the FT quotes Ballmer as saying), Microsoft’s antipiracy efforts and its prospects in the developing smartphone market.

Financial Times | Microsoft chief rules out bid for PeopleSoft (subscription required).

On Friday, PeopleSoft’s board fired their CEO (see my post earlier today). If, as many analysts and industry observers believe, Oracle will succeed in their bid for PeopleSoft, that will affect the balance in the Tier 1 sector of the enterprise software market and may impact the top of the Tier 2 sector, an area where PeopleSoft focuses as well as Microsoft (through its Microsoft Business Solutions unit) and SAP.

In this regard, pay close attention to Microsoft and SAP in particular in the coming months.