No Gag Order, So Ellison Keeps Talking

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-10-28 Print this article Print


Ellison isn't gagged. Late in the afternoon on Oct. 27, Oracle issued the following statement from its CEO:

"HP Chairman Ray Lane [who's also starting his new position on Monday] has taken the position that Leo Apotheker is innocent of wrongdoing because he didn't know anything about the stealing going on at SAP while Leo was CEO. The most basic facts of the case show this to be an absurd lie. Oracle sued SAP for stealing in March of 2007. Leo became CEO of SAP in April of 2008. Leo knew all about the stealing. In fact, Leo did not stop the stealing until 7 months after he became CEO. Why so long? We'd like to know. Ray Lane and the rest of the HP Board do not want anyone to know. That's the new HP Way with Ray in charge and Leo on the run. It's time to change the HP tagline from 'Invent' to 'Steal.'"

Knowing he has the SAP case in the bag, is Ellison merely trying to denigrate HP, his love-hate IT partner, and its new leader because the two companies now compete in the server and storage markets? Possibly, but it certainly goes deeper than that.
There is understandable frustration on Ellison's part in that SAP's subsidiary stole software and ultimately used it to take away business from Oracle. If Oracle or any other American company were to steal 8 million instances of software, for example, and use them to gain illicit profits, the Department of Justice would swoop in as quickly as one could say "plug and play."

This IP theft is relevant to the industry because all three of these companies-Oracle, SAP and HP-do a lot of business with, and against, each other. They can't continue to work together if one of them cannot be trusted.

A lot of other companies do a lot of business with those three Tier 1 IT enterprises. Who knows how far this spat could spider out?

Oracle's biggest database reseller? SAP, natch

SAP, ironically, is Oracle's biggest database reseller. That's correct. SAP has had a reseller agreement for years with Oracle to sell Oracle DB on its paper; when SAP sells a business application, it often comes with an Oracle runtime agreement.

You say you didn't know this? You're not the only one.

HP and Oracle have worked together for years to sell into large clients in government, defense, scientific and other high-end IT systems. Likewise, SAP and HP do a huge amount of business together also, primarily in Europe and Asia.

Yet these three squabble endlessly, like members of a family who can't live together-and can't kill each other.

It's a tangled web, to be sure. A soap opera writer couldn't make this stuff up.

Finally, there's this: Complicating all this is the fact that HP's former CEO, Mark Hurd, is now Oracle's co-president.

That in itself would be irony enough, but Ellison also went so far as to insult HP's board of directors (including new board chief Ray Lane, himself a former president of Oracle) for making a questionable personnel move by forcing a brilliant manager (Hurd) out of his job for what Ellison considers unimportant reasons (bad business conduct and a financial cover-up involving a former corporate event hostess).

Got that all straight? Keep an eye on this; there's more to come.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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