Ellison, Phillips, McDermott to take stand in Oracle-SAP retrial

The trial on damages is tentatively set for next month

During the upcoming retrial of Oracle's corporate-theft lawsuit against SAP, the companies plan to call a star-studded array of tech executives as witnesses including CEO Larry Ellison, former Oracle co-president and current Infor CEO Charles Phillips and SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott, according to court documents filed Thursday.

SAP has already admitted liability for illegal downloads of Oracle software and support materials that were conducted by its former subsidiary, TomorrowNow. A jury in the first trial awarded Oracle US$1.3 billion in November 2010 but a judge set that aside. Oracle declined to accept a lower award, opting instead for a new trial.

A June 18 start date has been set for the retrial, but that timeline will come up for debate at a hearing scheduled for Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Oracle and SAP will also argue about the scope of potential damages in the retrial, according to an SAP spokesman.

Ellison's testimony is expected to focus on a number of areas, including Oracle's history and business operations, its maintenance revenue, and the harm suffered by Oracle, according to Oracle's witness list.

Other Oracle witnesses include company co-President Safra Catz and Chief Architect Edward Screven. Both SAP and Oracle plan to call McDermott.

Ex-SAP and Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker will testify via videotaped deposition in the retrial, according to Oracle's filing.

During the first trial, Oracle tried to subpoena Apotheker, who had recently been named CEO of HP, hoping to get him to testify in person. Apotheker and HP resisted those efforts, but Apotheker has since left the company after a short and rocky run.

The case revolves around third-party support, where outside firms provide maintenance on applications like those sold by Oracle and SAP at a lower cost than vendor-provided support. While customers that cancel their maintenance contracts with the vendor and go with a third party don't get access to future product updates, many have stable systems and little desire to upgrade anytime soon.

Oracle is also suing third-party support provider Rimini Street, which is led by TomorrowNow co-founder Seth Ravin. Rimini Street has maintained no wrongdoing.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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