SAP Not Without Fault

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2008-02-14 Print this article Print

While it appears that Ellison is seeking SAP's comeuppance, SAP isn't without fault. Last July, after conducting its own internal investigation, SAP CEO Henning Kagermann admitted that TomorrowNow employees had indeed improperly downloaded Oracle documentation to TomorrowNow's servers. But, said Kagermann, SAP had no knowledge of the documents.

In a prepared statement released July 3, Kagermann made several key points in SAP's defense: that most of Oracle's documents were downloaded properly; that SAP does not have access to the wrongfully downloaded documents (or any Oracle documentation); that TomorrowNow's data is strictly confined behind a firewall (away from SAP's eyes); and that SAP had proper downloading procedures in place that were not followed.

"Third-party support providers like TomorrowNow depend on their customers permitting the service provider access to their support documents, to provide support for those applications. Even Oracle admits to the appropriateness of this practice," said Kagermann in the July 3 press conference.

"But even a single inappropriate download is unacceptable from my perspective. We regret very much that this occurred. I want to reassure our investors, customers, partners and employees that SAP takes any departure from the high standards we set for all our businesses very seriously, regardless of where it occurred or how confined it may be."

Despite Kagermann's statements, SAP has not seemed too rattled by Oracle's claims of large-scale malfeasance. Prior to the first case management conference last September, SAP released this statement: "Oracle's statement of -facts' is dramatic but inaccurate. This case, in short, is about whether TomorrowNow exceeded its customers' rights in downloading certain materials. That is not a matter of 'corporate theft on a grand scale.'" On that note, SAP requested that the case be sent to mediation.

Oracle's Hellinger suggested in Feb. 14's statement that the case going to mediation should not be considered a win for SAP. "Most cases are referred to [Alternative Dispute Resolution], no date for mediation has been set, and we are not currently in settlement discussions [with SAP]," she said. "In fact, such discussions are premature."



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