SAP CEO says “sorry” to Oracle
A co-chief executive of SAP apologised to rival Oracle for improperly downloading software files, the first time SAP has apologised in the three-year-old case.
“I am sorry,” SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott said in testimony as SAP kicked off its defense in a software theft lawsuit brought by Oracle in US federal court.
McDermott apologised after an exchange with Oracle attorney David Boies, who asked him if SAP had ever apologised for the copyright infringement. McDermott said no. Boies asked him if he would like to do it in the courtroom.
McDermott also said he never agreed with his own company’s once rosy pronouncements its acquisition of software provider TomorrowNow, the subsidiary that downloaded millions of files from Oracle’s customer service website, would draw big customers away from Oracle.
At one point, McDermott acknowledged SAP acquired TomorrowNow without conducting the proper due diligence. “The fact we’re all here in the first place makes it very clear to me it was a mistake,” McDermott said.
Oracle brought the case in early 2007. SAP previously accepted liability for TomorrowNow having wrongfully downloaded Oracle files.
The two companies are now in court to determine the amount of damages for copyright infringement by SAP. SAP argues it owes tens of millions of dollars in compensation – not the billions of dollars that Oracle seeks.
Boies also repeatedly asked McDermott whether he has ever disciplined anybody at SAP for what happened at TomorrowNow. McDermott said that his attention has been focused on resolving the case with Oracle.
“It’s a matter of priorities,” McDermott said.