Oracle May Ask for Billions More in Legal Battle with HP

By Cindy Waxer November 05, 2010

Oracle has upped its damage estimate from $2 billion to at least $4 billion or $5 billion in a legal battle that only Aaron Sorkin could write.

Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison, is accusing Hewlett Packard’s incoming CEO of hatching a scheme to steal Oracle's software by rival SAP AG. SAP has admitted in court documents that it stole Oracle's software. A jury must determine how much SAP should pay Oracle to settle the case, with Oracle now seeking about $5 billion in damages and SAP aiming to settle for just tens of millions of dollars. In fact, an attorney for SAP said the company believes it owes Oracle about $40 million.

Ellison is expected to take the stand next week in what’s expected to be an entertaining performance by a flamboyant billionaire who’s known for his public outbursts.

Ellison will present evidence that HP's now CEO Leo Apotheker was involved in wrongdoing. In August, HP’s Mark Hurd resigned his position amid a sexual-harassment scandal. Oracle promptly hired him as one of its presidents. Then HP hired SAP's former CEO, Leo Apotheker, to replace Hurd and named former Oracle COO, Ray Lane, as its chairman.

Former SAP executive board member Shai Agassi has said Apotheker was one of two SAP executives put in charge of TomorrowNow, the now-defunct SAP subsidiary that improperly downloaded the stolen software, after SAP acquired it.

According to a Reuters report, in a confidential transaction, SAP has already agreed to pay Oracle $120 million toward its legal fees in exchange for Oracle taking punitive damages off the table.

Oracle and HP’s relationship has gone downhill fast. Last month, the two companies reaffirmed their long-term strategic partnerships and issued gushing press releases that read, “HP and Oracle have been important partners for more than 20 years and are committed to working together to provide exceptional products and service to our customers.”

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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