Will Oracle's perception issues hurt SAP lawsuit?

Summary:Oracle files a lawsuit against SAP alleges massive corporate fraud and folks just don't seem to believe it. In fact, most observers are wondering what Oracle is really up to.

Oracle files a lawsuit against SAP alleges massive corporate fraud and folks just don't seem to believe it. In fact, most observers are wondering what Oracle is really up to.

The reaction to the lawsuit has been interesting to say the least. Among the questions raised in informal discussions about the Oracle complaint:

  • Did Oracle entrap SAP?
  • Are there server logs from ISPs verifying the SAP alleged access?
  • Did Oracle frame SAP?
  • Why are expired accounts allowed to log in to an Oracle server unless Larry Ellison & Co. was looking to trap SAP?

If you substituted another company for Oracle I'd reckon you wouldn't get as many folks running to SAP's side. Why? Oracle has a perception problem due to Ellison's banter, customer complaints from years ago and corporate image. Perhaps folks remember the "dumpster diving" episode between Microsoft and Oracle. In any case, it's clear SAP is getting the benefit of the doubt and a decent chunk of public support.

Some notable reaction:

Joshua Grennbaum surmises that Oracle's lawsuit is really about TomorrowNow's encroachment on Larry Ellison's maintenance fee juggernaut.

"If, as the suit alleges, there was some downloading from SAP or TomorrowNow computers, it was a rogue operation that in no way could have been as sanctioned by management. To assume anything else would be more than foolish — it would be just plain wrong. The bottom line is that TomorrowNow doesn't need to steal anything from Oracle to take over its customers' maintenance contracts: the customer are legally entitled to all the software and documentation up to the moment their contract with Oracle is over."

What that passage really comes down to is trust. Greenbaum trusts SAP, but not Oracle. He also assumes that there's no way SAP could have sanctioned such a move and dismisses TomorrowNow--if Oracle's allegations are true--as a rouge unit. I'm not sure how Greenbaum comes to that conclusion unless he's really tight with SAP's top management.

But Greenbaum's view seems to be the prevailing one when it comes to Oracle. Simply put, Oracle's complaint is perceived as fishy because SAP just wouldn't do such a thing.

One thing is certain, there is no love for Oracle among ZDNet's Talkbackers. Here's a sampling:


Something' doesn't sound right.

You would think that a company the size of SAP would download this info from sites not traceable to them, yet how convenient that Oracle can produce "server logs" with IPs and identifiers easily traceable right back to SAP.

I'm figuring a company run by a person with an ego and ambitions as large as Larry Ellison's would stop at nothing to discredit the largest player in the game, so if SAP hasn't given Oracle any ammo, why not make it up for themselves?

Is Oracle learning at SCO's knee?

Ok, this is pathetic. First, let's talk about theft vs copyright infringement. Even if what Oracle says is true, and it turns out to be illegal (see below) Oracle has had nothing *stolen*.    At *worst* SAP *copied* stuff. Oracle still has the originals, so by definition SAP could not have stolen anything. Copied illegally *maybe*, but not stolen.    Second, have you actually read the accusations? My goodness, I thought I'd crack a rib from laughing so hard.

We're talking about a wide open website here that allowed anonymous downloads. There was no security broken at all. Oracle might as well have put buckets of fruits on their sidewalk with a "help yourself" sign.

My Oracle rep just called.

He was out on Larry Ellison's yacht getting a suntan and called to tell me that Oracle has never had any security holes and never will, and if a re-negotiate my support agreement at a higher rate, this will always be true.

I'm still trying to figure out what he meant by "tan lines on your butt" in the context of my support agreement.

A good reason to switch to SAP.

The seemingly lack of security in Oracle's system, and the fact that about everyone could download sensitive information would be a major reason to switch from Oracle to any supplier who takes security more serious. Oracle might get sued by their  clients who might be implicated.

The common thread with all of these comments: The assumption that Oracle is up to shenanigans. Whether that turns out to be the case remains to be seen.  

Topics: Oracle

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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