Oracle raises stakes in SAP software theft case
Oracle has laid the groundwork for claiming billions of dollars more from SAP than previously indicated, raising the stakes in their closely watched legal battle over software theft.
SAP, Europe’s largest software firm, has admitted to liability for the theft by a now-defunct subsidiary, TomorrowNow. but the two are fighting over how much the German company should compensate its US rival Oracle.
While SAP had been aiming for a settlement in the tens of millions of dollars, former Oracle president Charles Phillips told the court his ex-employer would have charged SAP at least $4bn to $5bn for the rights to use the software that TomorrowNow improperly downloaded.
That far surpasses Oracle’s previous damages estimate of about $2bn, while SAP lawyers believe the company owes Oracle about $40m.
The drama will intensify next week when Oracle’s outspoken chief executive Larry Ellison takes the stand in the most highly-anticipated testimony of a trial that has enthralled Silicon Valley.
SAP has admitted TomorrowNow wrongly downloaded millions of software files from Oracle’s customer service website, but says its executives did not know of any wrongdoing when they bought the company in 2005.
Ellison, however, has said he has evidence that ex-SAP CEO Leo Apotheker (now in charge of HP) was complicit in TomorrowNow’s wrongdoing.
Apotheker’s credibility – and his ability to effectively lead HP – may come under attack if he testifies.