Ellison gets a grilling at Oracle-SAP trial

Oracle's CEO said he would have charged SAP $4 billion to license the software stolen by its TomorrowNow subsidiary

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison faced tough questioning on the witness stand Monday morning about the effects of TomorrowNow's intellectual-property theft on his company.

Dressed soberly in a dark jacket and black turtleneck, Ellison was questioned first by David Boies, an attorney for Oracle, and then was cross-examined for about 40 minutes by Greg Lanier, an attorney for SAP, whose now-defunct subsidiary TomorrowNow is at the heart of the lawsuit. Oracle sued SAP after it discovered TomorrowNow had been stealing applications and support software from an Oracle website. SAP has acknowledged the theft and the trial is about how much it should pay Oracle in damages.

Ellison's testimony was intended to show how valuable his company considered the stolen software to be and how much Oracle would therefore have charged SAP to license it legally.

Boies asked Ellison what factors Oracle would have taken into account when determining the price for such a license. "There's one overwhelming consideration and that's how many PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers we would have lost to SAP," Ellison replied.

He told the court that TomorrowNow's services could have enabled SAP to steal as many as 30 percent of Oracle's PeopleSoft customers and 10 percent of its Siebel customers. Based on the price Oracle paid for those companies, SAP would have had to pay Oracle US$4 billion for a license, Ellison said.

But under cross-examination, Lanier disputed Ellison's assertion that Oracle felt threatened by the TomorrowNow acquisition or that it was worried about losing customers to SAP. No evidence has been submitted to support those assertions, he said.

"There's not a single public or private, internal or external PowerPoint, speech, slide, e-mail or scribble on a napkin that says any of that, is there?" Lanier asked Ellison.

"I had those discussions with people but I don't tend to write those things down," Ellison replied.

Lanier also noted that only 358 of Oracle's 10,000 PeopleSoft customers switched to SAP after the TomorrowNow acquisition.

"You don't know why any specific Oracle customer left Oracle for TomorrowNow, do you Mr. Ellison?" Lanier asked.

"No, I don't know the specifics for any given customer," Ellison replied.

And 358 is "nowhere near 30 percent of PeopleSoft's customers, is it?" Lanier asked.

"No," Ellison replied.

Judge Phyllis Hamilton's courtroom on the third floor of the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California, was crowded when Ellison was called to the stand at about 8:30 a.m., with an overflow of a few reporters sitting on the floor taking notes.

Ellison identified himself as "Lawrence Joseph Ellison" and said he was born in 1944 on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. He moved to the Bay Area in 1964, he said, and founded Oracle in 1977.

Oracle has about another week to present its case, after which SAP will have two weeks to present its defense. The jury is expected to decide by the end of the month how much in damages SAP should pay.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags copyrightenterprise resource planningOraclelegalsoftwareapplicationsSAPintellectual propertyTomorrowNowpeoplesoftCivil lawsuits

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?