Oracle's Ellison takes aim at HP's Apotheker; TomorrowNow trial jabs escalate

Oracle's Ellison takes aim at HP's Apotheker; TomorrowNow trial jabs escalate

Summary: The war of words over next week's Oracle vs. SAP trial over TomorrowNow is escalating and HP and its new CEO is caught in the crossfire. Now we have Larry Ellison telling HP that it can't bring Leo Apotheker to headquarters unless it wants him to testify.


The war of words over next week's Oracle vs. SAP trial over TomorrowNow is escalating and Hewlett-Packard and its new CEO is caught in the crossfire.

In a statement late Tuesday, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said that the company plans to prove that HP CEO Leo Apotheker knew all about what TomorrowNow, a third party support company formerly owned by SAP, was up to when it was swiping intellectual property.

Ellison's statement comes just a few days after SAP requested a gag order in the TomorrowNow trial, which kicks off next week. SAP has acknowledged guilt, but has scoffed at Oracle's claim that it deserves $1 billion in damages. However, SAP set aside $160 million in its most recent quarter for damages over the TomorrowNow trial.

The last two weeks in the Oracle vs. SAP suit has been interesting. The New York Times took HP's board to task for hiring Apotheker and firing Hurd. Columnist Joe Nocera said HP's board had a double standard on ethics. HP Chairman Ray Lane then leaked a letter to the Times ripping Nocera. Later, it was discovered that Nocera's fiance is a publicist for the lawfirm Oracle hired to litigate against SAP.

That conflict led SAP to ask for a gag order in the TomorrowNow case. SAP argued that extracurricular yapping from Oracle shouldn't be allowed.

However, muzzles don't quite work on Ellison. In any case, Ellison's beef is all about HP and Apotheker now. SAP almost seems like a sidebar.

Enter Ellison's statement:

A few weeks ago I accused HP's new CEO, Leo Apotheker, of overseeing an industrial espionage scheme centering on the repeated theft of massive amounts of Oracle's software. A major portion of this theft occurred while Mr. Apotheker was CEO of SAP. HP's Chairman, Ray Lane, immediately came to Mr. Apotheker's defense by writing a letter stating, 'Oracle has been litigating this case for years and has never offered any evidence that Mr. Apotheker was involved.' Well, that's what we are planning to do during the trial that starts next Monday.

Unless, Mr. Lane and the rest of the HP Board of Directors decide to keep their new CEO far, far away from HP Headquarters until that trial is over. If HP keeps Leo Apotheker far from HP headquarters we cannot subpoena him to testify at that trial.

I don't think Ray Lane wants to risk Leo Apotheker testifying under oath as to why he allowed the theft of Oracle property to continue for 8 months after he was made sole CEO of SAP. I hope I'm wrong, but my guess is that HP's new Chairman, Mr. Lane, will keep HP's new CEO, Mr. Apotheker, far, far away from the Courthouse until this trial is over."

So what we have here is Ellison telling HP that it can't bring its new CEO to its headquarters. If HP does, Oracle will call him to testify. Clearly, Ellison's statement is about embarrassing Apotheker and HP. What remains to be seen is whether Apotheker will actually testify.

The other wrinkle here is SAP's financial results landed on Wednesday. SAP's quarter generally disappointed Wall Street, but the company did throw a jab back at Oracle.

Jim Hagemann Snabe, Co-CEO of SAP, said:

“The experience we have gained with our more than 100,000 customers over many years tells us that they want choice, openness and innovation from their technology partners. The opposite seems to be happening as more technology companies want to lock in their customers to a single vendor on one proprietary technology stack."

That's about as close as you'll get to trash talk from SAP.

Topics: Legal, CXO, Enterprise Software, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, SAP, IT Employment

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  • RE: Oracle's Ellison takes aim at HP's Apotheker; TomorrowNow trial jabs escalate

    Wow, this sounds like a really bad divorce where the infidelity was with the judge and both lawyers.

    I am much happier about buying and evaluating technology when I don't know anything about the upper management and their shenanigans.

    The truth is, most of these people got to where they were on the backs of others, and they all have entitlement issues that lead them to do crazy risk prone behaviours.

    It sounds like Ellison is still trying to fight the last battle on behalf of Mark Hurd. As a tech consumer, who cares. These guys are starting to act and sound like circus clowns.
    I just want good products at affordable prices.
    • But, that's just it

      @mr1972 .. <i>"...I just want good products at affordable prices. "</i><br><br>Honestly, there is a point where people have to realize just how destructive existing patent laws are ..<br><br>.. If <i>Ellison Wonderland</i> - and others in the same patent troll mindset - get their way, you, me and almost anyone else outside of the wealthy through filthy rich won't eventually be able to afford their wares.<br><br>So, effectively, another fundamental side-battle is taking place with most the recent, large patent cases, which is: <i>absolute price control by the few within desired product market(s).</i><br><br>At face value, most of these notable patent cases are about X-patent infringed by Y-vendor. OK .. that's all good and fine .. if all that's at stake is one, multi-billion dollar, multinational suing another for a few hundred million (..or so). But NO! That's not only a sanguine conclusion for anyone to make but also a naive one. Why? Simple, because the real target .. once you wade through all the subterfuge, smoke and mirrors is, logically, the consumer / average Jane & Joe.<br><br>So how does that compute? It's like this: once the would be spin-off / knock-off vendors (e.g. Google) have either caved into patent litigation pressures (bluffed or not), we're left with a pretty desolate, development landscape .. one where only the Apples, MS's and Oracles are left to pick over the remains. (Why am i picturing apocalypto scenes from <i>Terminator 2</i> as i write this?? Strangely apt .. i suppose.)<br><br>Innovation often dies at the hands of the powerful. But .. there's something far worse; we've gone well beyond that: with would be competitors <i>disposed of</i>, the public at large become the only (proverbial) target left in the game.
      • RE: Oracle's Ellison takes aim at HP's Apotheker; TomorrowNow trial jabs escalate

        @thx-1138_@... Yeah, but it has to get worse before people will be willing to actually do something about it. So far the multinationals have been careful to balance their reach with consumer apathy.
        When was the last time you saw a consumer give up their "iToy" for any reason other than price?
        There are only two real answers to the coming development landscape. Either consumers wake up and start voting with their dollars or the business world will get a taste of what happens to political empires. The barbarians are at the gates.
  • RE: Oracle's Ellison takes aim at HP's Apotheker; TomorrowNow trial jabs escalate

    Ellison must stay in news for ego to survive.
  • Larry is a moron and a bully

    Larry, if you want to change HP, BUY THEM! Otherwise shut up!
  • Playing Monopoly For Keeps With Real Money

    It's all about the game for Ellison. What's he want, another jet? That's behind-the-seat-cushion money to him. But playing the game, to win, that is still where he's coming from.
  • Solution?

    Can't we all just get along?
  • HP board must be smoking something

    first to fire Hurd, and then hire someone poisoned with involvement in a major lawsuit.
    Agreed that Ellison is a 24-ct a-hole, but he's not going to quit chewing until much flesh is ripped from SAP bones. And they have it coming!
  • Oracle vs SAP, HP & Google...

    I'm impressed with this kind of leadership at Oracle... fighting several wars at the same time! That's a great way to lose money and credibility... Plus the trashing of former SUN's open source projects. Competitors thank Ellison...