More Mellow Ellison, Feistier Catz

By Reuters  |  Print this article Print

In the Oracle, SAP trial, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison testified that SAP's theft of his company's software cost Oracle $4 billion. Meanwhile, Oracle has hired private detectives to track down former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker, current HP CEO, to deliver a subpeona to him.

"Mr. Ellison's testimony was anti-climactic given his statements these past weeks," SAP spokesperson Saswato Das said in an emailed statement.

The two software companies, which together dominate the global market for software that helps businesses run more efficiently, are slugging it out in court to determine the amount of damages for the software theft.

SAP has accepted liability for its TomorrowNow subsidiary having wrongfully downloaded thousands of Oracle files, but argues it owes tens of millions -- not billions -- of dollars in compensation.

Dressed in a black mock-turtleneck and suit and using glasses at times to read documents, Ellison said top Oracle executives had feared SAP's purchase of third-party software maintenance firm TomorrowNow would allow the German company to woo customers away.

SAP attorney Greg Lanier asked Ellison if he could produce a "scribble on a napkin" of proof that he really believed, in 2005, that TomorrowNow posed a grave risk to Oracle.

"I've had that discussion with people, but I tend not to write those things down," Ellison replied simply.

Oracle president Safra Catz -- who often shuns the public spotlight -- testified after Ellison, and took on a feistier tone. Had SAP sought a license from Oracle for the software TomorrowNow downloaded, Catz said, SAP would have had to pay up front.

"We didn't pay for PeopleSoft on layaway," she said.

So far, Oracle has been unable to subpoena the man whose testimony would likely be the mostly closely watched in the five-week trial: Apotheker.

Oracle has hired private investigators to track him down, believing testimony by the former SAP chief will support its case, according to a source familiar with the situation.