27 things you need to know about Oracle, SAP and HP

Here's our cheat sheet to the shenanigans around SAP and TomorrowNow

By , IDG News Service |  Software

It says that's ridiculous. It argues that any PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers who ditched Oracle around that time did so because they were worried about their vendor being acquired by Oracle, not because of TomorrowNow. It's willing to pay Oracle some money but only tens of millions of dollars.

Is that what next week's trial is about then?

Not so fast. A couple of months ago Oracle and SAP agreed to narrow the scope of the case. SAP said it would accept that TomorrowNow infringed Oracle's copyrights if Oracle in return would forget the other nine charges and focus on damages instead.

That was jolly civilized.

Don't be silly, they hate each other. But Oracle only has so much time at trial to convince a jury of its case. It's better off focussing on a big charge that it thinks will give it a good pay off. Plus, SAP had already admitted that TomorrowNow made some "inappropriate downloads," so it suited SAP as well to focus the case and basically argue about damages.

So does that mean SAP knew about all this illegal activity?

Not necessarily. SAP originally said its executives knew nothing about the illegal downloads and that it was all TomorrowNow. But Oracle said it has evidence SAP's executives were aware of the illegal behavior. It wants to get SAP executives on the witness stand next week to ask a lot of awkward questions about it.

So is that what the trial is about -- whether SAP knew about the illegal downloads?

Not so fast. On Thursday SAP made a surprise move and said it would no longer argue that its executives didn't know what TomorrowNow was up to. If it doesn't contest that issue of "contributory infringement," the trial will basically be just about the damages.

Why on earth did it do that?

That's hard to say. It could have been holding out for a settlement and realized it wasn't going to get one. Or it could be it didn't want its executives on the stand being asked lots of awkward questions by Oracle's lawyers. They're not a very pleasant bunch.

Well, what does SAP say? And by the way, what does HP have to do with all this?

Funny you should ask. SAP's line is that Oracle is turning this whole trial onto a media circus, so it made the concession in order to focus the trial and get it over with quickly. Oracle has been having a field day with this case in the press, and part of it has been aimed at HP and its new CEO, Leo Apotheker. He used to be the top executive at SAP so he's among the executives Oracle's lawyers want to grill on the stand.

Is he really involved in all this?

That depends whom you ask. Oracle says he's relevant because he was president of operations at SAP when it bought TomorrowNow. HP and SAP say Larry Ellison is just obsessed with dragging Apotheker into the case to make HP look bad.

Why would he do that?

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