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SAP chief apologies to Oracle for TomorrowNow theft

Top-brass sent to bed without supper

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Oracle still hasn't succeeded in dragging SAP's ex-chief executive into court to testify on what hw knew about the subsidiary TomorrowNow's "industrial espionage."

On Monday, what Oracle got instead was an apology from the former CEO's replacement: co-CEO Bill McDermott.

It was another tech-sector captain deflated in the circus of Oracle's prosecution of its number-one business applications rival over money.

In a California court on Monday, Oracle attorney David Boies asked SAP's McDermott whether SAP has ever apologized to his client over TomorrowNow's theft of Oracle's IP.

The fact is: it hasn't. Although SAP has admitted TomorrowNow's wrong doing, and it has closed down the operation.

"Would you like to do so now?," Reuters has Boies asking. McDermott replied: "I am sorry to Oracle."

In what was apparently a testy exchange, Boies kept asking McDermott whether he'd ever disciplined SAP employees for TomorrowNow's actions. McDermott is reported to have said his attention was focused on resolving the case with Oracle

"It's a matter of priorities," he said.

Last week, it was Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison's turn to get taken down a peg.

Ellison had claimed in court that TomorrowNow's actions cost his company up to 30 per cent of PeopleSoft and 15 per cent of Sieble customers. SAP's rogue subsidiary eventually lured away 300 Oracle customers.

"That's nowhere close to 20-30 per cent of the PeopleSoft customer base, is it?'" SAP's attorney asked one of America's richest men and top paid CEOs. "No," Ellison replied,

SAP's McDermott was appointed co-CEO immediately on the resignation of incumbent CEO Leo Apotheker in February. Oracle really wants Apotheker testify because he was on SAP's board when SAP bought TomorrowNow in 2005 and closed it down in October 2008.

Although Oracle has video testimony of Apotheker, now CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Oracle claims live testimony is crucial because he "personally approved" TomorrowNow's activities. HP - an Oracle partner - has refused to accept papers calling Apotheker to the stand. Oracle is reported to have brought in the PIs to track down and serve Apotheker.

McDermott went on to tell the California court hearing Oracle's case against SAP that TomorrowNow was "not a big driver of software sales."

"Not only was it not a big driver of software sales, it wasn't a very successful" concept, McDermott was reported by SG Gate to have said.

Oracle is seeking at least $2bn in damages from SAP for TomorrowNow's download of Oracle software in what the database giant claimed was an attempt to poach PeopleSoft and Sieble customers. SAP has offered to pay $120m for past and future reasonable attorneys fees and costs. ®

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