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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

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

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?