John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Oracle Vs. SAP: We Got a Right to Pick a Little Fight–Bonanza!

As first legal volleys go, the ones fired off Tuesday in the Oracle vs. SAP trial were about what you’d expect, given the sniping between the two companies in recent weeks–all bluster, petulance and condemnation.

Oracle, in its opening argument, slagged SAP as a sinister and scheming rival, claiming the company’s leadership knew it was taking a risk by buying TomorrowNow, which was found to have infringed Oracle’s intellectual property. “SAP could have chosen to compete fairly,” Oracle attorney Geoffrey Howard said. “Instead it chose to buy TomorrowNow, a company that the board of directors at SAP knew was competing unfairly. It did that because it expected to make enormous amounts of money and inflict enormous amounts of harm on Oracle by using its intellectual property.”

And SAP, in its opening argument, derided Oracle as a company deluded by its own avarice into seeking a ridiculously inflated damages award. Oracle wants “a windfall,” SAP attorney Bob Mittelstaedt told the jury. “They want a bonanza that is out of all proportion to the harm they suffered.”

According to Mittelstaedt, SAP should have to pay only for the software sales Oracle lost as a result of TomorrowNow’s malfeasance, and those number less than 500.

And that’s the point of contention around which this case will orbit. Because Oracle claims that SAP, with its acquisition of TomorrowNow, was looking for a bonanza of its own and just didn’t get it.

Memos presented by Howard on Tuesday show that SAP estimated its acquisition of TomorrowNow would disrupt Oracle’s applications business enough to cause a 10 percent decline in the company’s share price, trimming about $7 billion off its market cap.

In other words, the intent was there; the execution was just lacking. Just because SAP didn’t benefit significantly from TomorrowNow’s improper downloads of Oracle software and documentation doesn’t make those downloads any less improper.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald