Apotheker a no-show in Oracle-SAP trial

Nov 19, 2010 By JORDAN ROBERTSON , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- An industrial espionage trial between Oracle Corp. and SAP AG, two of the world's biggest business software makers, didn't feature after all the testimony of one of its most anticipated witnesses.

The evidence part of the three-week trial wrapped up Friday without an in-person appearance by the new CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co., Leo Apotheker, and without Oracle playing a videotaped deposition he gave.

The cat-and-mouse game of Oracle trying to force Apotheker to testify, and HP refusing to allow it, has captivated technology watchers and overshadowed Apotheker's start as head of the world's biggest technology company by revenue.

Oracle wanted Apotheker to testify because he was previously SAP's CEO.

But HP refused Oracle's subpoena and accused Oracle of harassing Apotheker.

Oracle hired investigators to track down Apotheker, but since he started the HP job Nov. 1, he wasn't spotted close enough to the federal courthouse in Oakland, where the case is being tried, for Oracle to serve him with the subpoena. The subpoena only applies within 100 miles of the courthouse, which includes HP's headquarters in Palo Alto.

HP has refused to disclose Apotheker's whereabouts.

Oracle is demanding billions of dollars in damages from SAP for software and customer support documents that SAP has admitted to stealing. SAP claims it owes only $40 million. Closing arguments are expected next week.

HP got roped into the mess when it hired Apotheker to replace HP's former CEO, Mark Hurd, who was ousted after a sexual-harassment investigation.

Oracle insists that Apotheker oversaw the scheme at SAP. An Oracle lawyer, David Boies, said after Friday's hearing that Apotheker's videotaped deposition wasn't shown because it was taken two years ago, before admitted to the theft. HP has said Apotheker had limited knowledge about the matter.

Oracle has already reaped a public relations bonanza from Apotheker's absence. The company is using it as another way to attack HP as the companies' longtime friendship has turned frosty over Oracle's entry into the HP stronghold of selling computer servers. Earlier, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison blasted HP for firing Hurd and promptly hired him to serve as an Oracle co-president.

HP is scheduled to report quarterly earnings Monday. Investors are awaiting commentary from Apotheker about his strategy for the company. HP is the world's biggest maker of personal computers and printers and is now a major player in technology services and computer networking as well.

Explore further: BlackBerry courts iPhone users with cash

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ellison: Oracle has $4 billion case against SAP

Nov 08, 2010

(AP) -- Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison turned up the pressure in an industrial espionage trial Monday by testifying that archenemy SAP AG should have paid $4 billion for licenses to Oracle software.

HP board's selection of new CEO raises new doubts

Sep 30, 2010

(AP) -- Hewlett-Packard Co.'s board upset many investors when it forced out Mark Hurd as CEO nearly two months ago. Now, those directors appear to have baffled Wall Street with its selection of HP's new leader ...

Recommended for you

BlackBerry courts iPhone users with cash

9 hours ago

Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry is wooing Apple customers with a cash offer for trade-ins of iPhones for its new square-screened, keyboard-equipped Passport.

HP earnings show continued struggle

10 hours ago

Venerable tech giant Hewlett-Packard has been struggling for three years to turn its business around. Its latest earnings show it still has more work ahead.

Apple market value hits $700 bn

16 hours ago

A rise in Apple shares Tuesday pushed the market value of the trend-setting US tech icon above $700 billion, becoming the first company to hit that milestone.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.