Oracle vs. SAP: Ellison pressed to quantify customer losses over TomorrowNow

Oracle vs. SAP: Ellison pressed to quantify customer losses over TomorrowNow

Summary: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison took that stand at his company's TomorrowNow trial vs. SAP and was pressed to quantify how many customers were lost to his archrival over third party support.

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Oakland, Calif.---Oracle CEO Larry Ellison took that stand at his company's TomorrowNow trial vs. SAP and was pressed to quantify how many customers were lost to his arch-rival over third party support.

Oracle is seeking damages of $1 billion from SAP over infringement by its now defunct TomorrowNow unit, which offered third party support for PeopleSoft and JD Edwards software. SAP has admitted guilt and the trial in U.S. District Court for Northern California is designed to pinpoint damages. Attorneys were instructed to only focus questions on damages.

Those damages largely depend on whether Oracle can quantify customers lost to SAP over TomorrowNow due to intellectual property theft. Ellison, clad in a black turtleneck and suit, was trying to paint a picture that Oracle would lose 20 percent to 30 percent of its customers to SAP over TomorrowNow. Oracle didn't lose those customers, but did argue that it lost 358 customers to SAP due to TomorrowNow.

SAP lawyers pressed Ellison to quantify the concerns about losing a bevy of customers. Where were the emails or documents revealing Ellison's concerns? "I would never write anything like that down," said Ellison, who said SAP's purchase of TomorrowNow was a concern.

However, Ellison, who testified for about an hour, said the concerns were real. Ellison was confronted with the fact that an internal report from Oracle didn't agree with the hefty customer losses over TomorrowNow. Meanwhile, Oracle had already anticipated losing some customers due to the acquisition of PeopleSoft. In fact, Oracle kept more customers from PeopleSoft than it anticipated.

The issue is whether Oracle can pinpoint exactly how many customers it lost over TomorrowNow. When SAP counsel asked whether Ellison could name one customer lost over TomorrowNow, he couldn't. The jury will have to decide whether losing 358 customers out of thousands can be directly attributed to TomorrowNow or just the standard course of battle with SAP.

Ellison said that if SAP were to license the intellectual property stolen by TomorrowNow it would cost about $4 billion in a negotiation.

In another exchange, Ellison noted that SAP's acquisition of TomorrowNow was "a brilliant idea." "In a way it was a brilliant idea to take away our customers," said Ellison. The rub was that SAP would have to hire hundreds if not thousands of engineers to support Oracle applications. Ellison said concerns about TomorrowNow increased after Oracle discovered intellectual property theft. "We didn't think they would take our intellectual property and resell it," said Ellison, who said that TomorrowNow's theft meant it could provide all the bug fixes, updates, regulatory compliance changes and engineering that Oracle could provide.

SAP lawyers noted that there were some exchanges arguing that SAP's purchase of TomorrowNow could actually be positive for Oracle. "I don't know anyone that would think TomorrowNow was a positive. Someone said it and it makes no sense to me," said Ellison.

"I had detailed discussions with Ms. Catz (co-president Safra Catz) about it and the concerns were there," said Ellison.

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Topics: SAP, Banking, Enterprise Software, Legal, Oracle

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10 comments
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  • Blah, blah, blah, blah!

    Typical CEO double talk!
    kd5auq
  • "Oracle intellectual property"

    Is that what they call it?
    I guess it is SAP, so anyone else's intellectual property would certainly be a step up ;-)
    stevenmcnutt
    • RE:"Oracle intellectual property"

      @stevenmcnutt <br>>>>Is that what they call it?<<<<br><br>Well, yeah. SAP has acknowledged stealing it, and the only issue is determining damages. <br>Or are you just being 'cute'?
      richdave
  • More noblesse oblige from the Lord of the Databases

    Larry Ellison is the most arrogant POS in existence, not just in his professional life, but even in his personal life. How he managed to infuriate his neighbors in his castle building process, totally devoid of any concern for their living space, is just one of many examples.

    There are few people in the world for whom "hutzpah" is inadequate, and he's at the top of that small heap. In fact, he would be proud to able to say he's the only one in that category.

    Here, he thinks he can treat a US court with disdain and it will bend over and kiss his feet just because he demands it -- indeed, beyond "demands", rather expects it as his due -- and will not understand the court's refusal to acknowledge his status when it doesn't.

    Truly, "POS" applies to him even more than it applies to Prince, and that's going some.
    NeverLift
    • RE: Oracle vs. SAP: Ellison pressed to quantify customer losses over TomorrowNow

      @NeverLift

      He shafted his local school district by arguing for a much lower valuation for his property because of it's "unique" style and thus reducing his property taxes. Of course one could argue that he was within his rights but given his prodigous net worth you would think he might actually have a heart...

      Afterwards, he was quoted as saying "What Larry wants, Larry gets".
      alexh1@...
  • His bluff was called?

    One thing is having a successful case to argue. Another thing is trying to take unfair advantage of it.

    SAP accepted TomorrowNow's fault, which they grandfathered when they acquired it. That's fine. Why should they accept more responsibility than what's fair?

    The courts should be used to right wrongs, not to advance the competitive advantage of corporations with deep pockets. That should be done through R&D and marketing.

    Oracle is litigation happy but they should remember that those that live by the sword?
    rarsa
  • RE: Oracle vs. SAP: Ellison pressed to quantify customer losses over TomorrowNow

    Larry looks stressful. This is evident from the wide mid-section he is sporting and the puffy face. Chill Larry and enjoy your success. Have you ever seen a U-Haul truck following a funeral procession? Can't take any of those $$$$$ with you to hell or in Greek *Sheol* (The common grave of mankind)
    nacoll007
  • Ellison = Idiot

    Period!
    smtp4me@...
  • RE: Oracle vs. SAP: Ellison pressed to quantify customer losses over TomorrowNow

    Larry is demanding and successful. I, on the other hand, am neither demanding OR successful. From my extensive research on these 2 data points, I conclude that he is successful BECAUSE he is successful.
    knechod
  • RE: Oracle vs. SAP: Ellison pressed to quantify customer losses over TomorrowNow

    Here are my thoughts in 800 words or less . . . TomorrowNow Lawsuit Underlines the Fact that to SAP and Oracle, Customers are Nothing More than Chess Pieces in A Wall Street Game; http://wp.me/p4HrB-1Ln
    piblogger