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Ellison accuses HP boss of espionage

Promises to reveal all in Monday's court case

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Larry Ellison is raising the temperature of his fight with HP by accusing its new CEO Leo Apotheker of running a spying scheme against Oracle when he was boss of SAP.

Oracle and SAP will meet in court on Monday. Ellison said Oracle would subpoena Apotheker, ex-boss of SAP, to appear, if he had the guts to go to HP's headquarters - which are within the court's jurisdiction. Apotheker is due to start work at HP on Monday.

Here's the full statement, courtesy of CBS:

A few weeks ago I accused HP's new CEO, Leo 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. HP's Chairman, Ray Lane, immediately came to Mr Apotheker's defence 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.

Unless Mr Lane and the rest of the HP Board of Directors decide to keep their new CEO far, far away from HP Headquarters until that trial is over. If HP keeps Leo Apotheker far from HP headquarters we cannot subpoena him to testify at that trial.

I don't think Ray Lane wants to risk Leo Apotheker testifying under oath as to why he allowed the theft of Oracle's property to continue for eight months after he was made sole CEO of SAP. I hope I'm wrong, but my guess is that HP's new chairman, Mr Lane, will keep HP's new CEO, Mr Apotheker, far, far away from the courthouse until this trial is over.

The case began in 2007, with Oracle accusing an SAP subsidiary, TomorrowNow, of stealing its intellectual property.

Ellison is not known for being shy and retiring but relations between HP and Oracle have taken an increasingly bad-tempered turn since Oracle snapped up Mark Hurd following his rapid departure from HP.

HP's decision to replace Hurd with the boss of Oracle's arch-rival can hardly have helped soothe Larry's brow.

HP chairman Ray Lane - a former president at Oracle funnily enough - reacted with un-HP-like anger, to a comment piece in the New York Times that also questioned Apotheker's integrity. He accused Hurd of repeatedly lying to HP's board of directors. ®

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