John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Plattner and White No-Shows at Oracle-SAP Trial

Oracle’s long-running legal battle with SAP and its now-shuttered TomorrowNow subsidiary is heading toward its climax. SAP is expected to rest its case Thursday, after which Oracle will call rebuttal witnesses, among them one of its strongest to date–President Safra Catz, who last week described SAP’s offer of $40 million in damages as “a reward for their bad behavior.” Presumably, Catz will have a bit more to say on that matter, now that SAP’s high-priced damages expert has outlined the calculation that got him to that figure.

Then it’s on to closing arguments, now scheduled for Monday, and finally deliberation. Odd to think that the case has reached this point with so few SAP board members actually testifying live in court. Looking over the final witness list for the trial reveals a number of noteworthy no-shows (beyond Hewlett-Packard CEO Léo Apotheker): Former SAP CEO Henning Kagermann, COO and board member Gerhard Oswald, co-founder and board chairman Hasso Plattner, and, most interestingly, CFO Mark White, SAP’s designated corporate representative for the trial and the guy tapped by its board to clean up the TomorrowNow mess.

Why didn’t SAP put them on the stand? Perhaps it’s because Werner Brandt and SAP co-Chief Executive Officer Bill McDermott, the only board members to take the stand, fared so poorly there.

Or perhaps it’s simply because of the way the trial has played out. “We’ve said from the start that our focus is on damages, that we are interested in resolution of this dispute and determining a reasonable number for damages, and putting the matter behind us,” an SAP spokesperson told me. “The witnesses we call support that focus. Please keep in mind that there were 73 names on the witness list when it was submitted. Since that list was submitted, the scope of the trial has been narrowed considerably and the length of the trial has been shortened.”

UPDATE: I’m told Kagermann was prepared to testify live, but did not due to time constraints. His video deposition was played instead.

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