In January 2005, soon after his company's contentious takeover of rival PeopleSoft, Oracle CEO and Chairman Larry Ellison made a dramatic announcement: Oracle, he said, had launched Project Fusion, a major software development effort intended to produce a next-generation suite of enterprise applications reflecting the best features and functions of the company's expanding stable of applications. Project Fusion, Ellison vowed, would produce an integrated suite based on a services-oriented architecture, allowing Oracle to leapfrog competitors such as SAP. And, Ellison said, the suite would be available by the end of 2008.
In the months that followed, Oracle officials couldn't talk enough about Project Fusion. In January 2006, almost a year to the day after unveiling the initiative, Oracle President Charles Phillips, Senior Vice President of Applications Development John Wookey, and other top Oracle officials assembled customers, analysts, and press to declare that the company had reached the halfway mark toward launching the suite, which, they had renamed Fusion Applications.
"We've made incredible progress, and we're ahead of schedule," Phillips said at the time.
Soon thereafter, however, something changed. Ellison, Phillips, and other Oracle officials, while continuing to insist that the Fusion Applications plan was still in place, stopped talking about specific availability dates. Wookey left Oracle, later to surface at SAP. And the 2008 deadline for releasing a full suite of Fusion Applications came and went without so much as a public peep from Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, CA. (Oracle declined requests for interviews about Fusion Applications for this article.)