Co. has plenty to worry about these days. Not only did it lose
the CEO who masterminded its ascent to the world's top
computer-maker spot to a sexual
harassment scandal, but it also now faces a growing
rift with Mark
Hurd's new employer, Oracle Corp.On Wednesday, Oracle CEO
Larry Ellison blasted Léo
Apotheker, HP's incoming CEO, accusing him of masterminding a
scheme while CEO of German enterprise software vendor SAP AG to steal
Oracle's technology.Mr. Ellison remarked, "A few weeks
ago I accused HP's new CEO, Léo Apotheker, of overseeing an
industrial espionage scheme centering on the repeated theft of
massive amounts of Oracle's software. A major portion of this theft
occurred while Mr. Apotheker was CEO of SAP."Indeed
court documents seem to back Mr. Ellison's claims that under Mr.
Apotheker's leadership SAP AG committed intellectual property theft.
In a case currently ongoing in San Francisco court, SAP admitted that
it stole Oracle's property. The case now goes to a
trial by jury to determine damages, starting next Monday.
Oracle says that SAP should pay it around $2B USD, but SAP contends
it should only have to pay tens of millions of dollars for the damage
its dirty tactics caused.Oracle wants to subpoena Mr.
Apotheker to testify, but is having difficulty in doing so because he
resides outside the country. However, the executive is set to
make the move to HP's headquarters in Silicon Valley on Monday, which
allow him to be forced to testify after all.Mr.
"HP's Chairman, Ray Lane, immediately came to Mr. Apotheker's
defense by writing a letter stating, 'Oracle has been litigating this
case for years and has never offered any evidence that Mr. Apotheker
was involved.' Well, that's what we are planning to do during the
trial that starts next Monday."HP spokeswoman Mylene
Mangalindan in a statement to Reuters refused
to comment on the possible subpoena. She accuses Oracle of
being the one committing dirty tactics, despite the fact that her
company's new CEO's former company admitted to wrong-doing. She
states, "Given Leo's limited knowledge of and role in the
matter, Oracle's last-minute effort to require him to appear live at
trial is no more than an effort to harass him and interfere with his
duties and responsibilities as HP's CEO."For Oracle, the
loss of HP, who long sold bundled hardware with Oracle software to
the corporate world, is of little consequence. The company is
increasingly relying on recent acquisition Sun Microsystems for its
hardware needs. The company could also easily broker increased
deals with Dell or Taiwanese manufacturers, should it need to
increase its bundle options.For HP, though, the loss --
and the scandal surrounding its latest CEO -- is more troubling.
There are few enterprise software makers as powerful or with as much
name recognition as Oracle, and those there are oft have dedicated
hardware units already (e.g. IBM). Oracle is the world's third
largest software company behind Microsoft and IBM.Probably
HP's greatest hope is that its latest CEO scandal just quietly go
away. That must strike former scorned former CEO Mark Hurd, now
a co-President at Oracle, as awfully ironic.Aside from the
scandal, though, HP has plenty of concerns looking ahead to Mr.
Apotheker's campaign. Mr. Apotheker has little experience in
the consumer sector and faces a serious culture clash in jumping from
one of Germany's software giants to one of America's hardware
giants. And aside from the Oracle conflict, SAP AG suffered
during his time as CEO, leading many to wonder if he was a good
choice for HP. His appointment has been criticized and
questioned by many analysts.