HP’s new boss to face questions in Oracle-SAP spat
Hewlett-Packard’s new CEO is set to testify at Silicon Valley’s biggest trial in years, possibly answering charges he oversaw SAP’s theft of software from Oracle.
Oracle attorney Geoffrey Howard told a court that former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker – who started his job as head of HP this week – would testify at the high-stakes trial, with his own credibility at stake.
The trial’s other celebrity witness will be Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, a billionaire playboy known for his public outbursts and a passion for racing sailboats and cars.
Wonder who on the inside told? I think they caught us
The court session marked opening arguments in the technology industry’s most closely watched courtroom battle in years. SAP has admitted liability for the wrongful downloading of software content from Oracle, but the two disagree sharply on how much SAP should pay in damages.
SAP claims Apotheker and other executives did not know of any wrongdoing when they bought TomorrowNow for $10 million in 2005 and shut it down after they found out. But Oracle’s attorneys said at least some SAP employees knew of irregularities before the suit was filed.
They showed jurors an instant messaging exchange between two TomorrowNow employees after Oracle’s initial filing of the lawsuit.
“Wonder who on the inside told?” Kimberly Martinez asked.
“I think they caught us,” Kristin Paige responded in the exchange that was presented to the jury by Oracle.
HP would not say whether Apotheker would show up in court, but if he declines Oracle’s attorneys could show a videotape deposition that he has already given.
TomorrowNow built a Web-scraping robot program dubbed “Titan” that automatically downloaded software and other materials from Oracle’s customer service website.
Since SAP has already admitted to wrongdoing, the jury of eight need only determine how much money SAP should pay Oracle in damages.
Attorneys for Oracle did not provide a specific number to the jury, though they said it was in the billions of dollars. SAP’s lawyers put the total at about $40 million.