Why Is Oracle's Ellison 'Threatening' to Subpoena HP's Apotheker?

Lora Bentley

Earlier this week, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was making noise about putting new HP CEO Leo Apotheker on the stand in Oracle's intellectual property infringement/industrial espionage suit against SAP. Though SAP has already accepted responsibility for the theft, which took place when now-defunct SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow provided support for Oracle products, trial on the issue of damages is slated to begin Monday.

 

According to CRN, Ellison issued a statement in which he threatened to subpoena Apotheker when he shows up for his first day of work at HP on Monday. Apotheker will provide evidence that he was fully aware TomorrowNow was wrongfully taking Oracle software, Ellison says. But then he also goes so far as to say that HP should keep Apotheker away from his workplace until the trial is over:

I don't think [HP Chairman] Ray Lane wants to risk Leo Apotheker testifying under oath as to why he allowed the theft of Oracle property to continue for 8 months after he was made sole CEO of SAP.

SAP, of course, says Ellison has it all wrong. Wednesday, CIO.com reported on a SAP statement indicating Apotheker did not become sole CEO of SAP until TomorrowNow ceased to exist. From CIO.com:

Apotheker was named sole CEO of SAP on June 1, 2009, and TomorrowNow ceased operations as of Oct. 31, 2008.

That's not to say Apotheker didn't have significant responsibility as co-CEO before that day, but it does illustrate Ellison's tendency toward grandstanding. It's no surprise that Apotheker may take the stand in the case as a former CEO of SAP. The Wall Street Journal reported Apotheker's name was on a witness list nearly three weeks ago. So why it's necessary for Ellison to "threaten" to subpoena him is beyond me.

 

Like Future Tech Enterprise CEO Bob Venero told CRN:

From a partner's perspective, it is too much rhetoric. Candidly, the customer and partner community doesn't need to be bothered with this.

Neither do the rest of us.



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