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HP CEO Goes On the Lam As Oracle Hunts Him Down 137

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it-only-gets-stranger dept.
theodp writes "Oracle said HP has refused to accept a subpoena requiring new CEO Leo Apotheker to testify in a trial against his former employer SAP, which will determine how much SAP owes Oracle for copyright infringement by its discontinued TomorrowNow unit. 'Mr. Apotheker started work for HP on Monday, but it now appears that the HP board of directors has decided to keep him away from HP's headquarters and outside the court's jurisdiction,' an Oracle spokeswoman said. 'We will continue to try to serve him,' she added. An HP spokeswoman countered: 'Given Leo's limited knowledge of and role in the matter, Oracle's last-minute effort to require him to appear live at trial is no more than an effort to harass him and interfere with his duties and responsibilities as HP's CEO.' The spokeswoman declined to discuss the whereabouts of Mr. Apotheker, who was featured in a 2006 SAP/TomorrowNow press release attacking the 'uncertainty' of Oracle. Coincidentally, among the charges leveled at SAP/TomorrowNow was 'pretextual customer log-in,' an area in which HP has some subject matter expertise."
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HP CEO Goes On the Lam As Oracle Hunts Him Down

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  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Thursday November 04, 2010 @10:47AM (#34124258) Homepage Journal

    Why would a CEO be at work? That is just a silly assumption.

    • Well it's the only place he can have his affair without his wife finding out.

      • You've clearly never been to a Clubhouse.

        Every man can play his best, and away, at the 19th.
    • by Stargoat (658863) * <stargoat@gmail.com> on Thursday November 04, 2010 @11:01AM (#34124422) Journal

      In 2010, a cracked CEO was sent to prison by a patent court for a crime he didn't commit. This man promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, he survives as a soldier of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire... The HP-Team.

      • Cue obligatory 5 minute montage of the HP-Team coding solutions out of discarded corporate IP. Followed by a dramatic showdown with flashy error messages which throw the enemies in the air but somehow, magically, never kills them.

  • by wandazulu (265281) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @10:47AM (#34124264)

    He's a ninja.

    Or, at least, he can afford to hire a bunch of them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aliquis (678370)

      But pirates > ninjas.

    • Larrys kind of crazy and ruthless behaviour is more befitting of a pirate i think..

      So don't worry about ninjas clad in oracle red, three-mast 40-gun sailing ships however..

      • by Miseph (979059)

        Hardly any pirates ever commanded a ship that big or well-armed... excepting outliers like Morgan, Drake or Teach (and, frankly, they mostly fit the bill as well) virtually all of them were low-rent criminals and thugs going after small un-armed merchant craft just to keep the crew from starvation. Few of them were particularly competent fighters or sailors, and the majority died swift, painful deaths after a very brief career.

        Of course, it makes for a much less compelling movie if you've only got 5-10 half

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SydShamino (547793)

          You're not thinking modern times. Corporations pull in billions from their customers and lucrative government contracts. Then, when the armada closes in, the CEO strands their crew on a desert island and make their escape via golden parachute.

        • by ArhcAngel (247594)

          You go around telling children there is no Santa Clause or Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy don't you?

        • That's only because they didn't find any container ships to ransom. Oh wait, we're not talking about Somalia are we?

          Hardly any pirates ever commanded a ship that big or well-armed... excepting outliers like Morgan, Drake or Teach (and, frankly, they mostly fit the bill as well) virtually all of them were low-rent criminals and thugs going after small un-armed merchant craft just to keep the crew from starvation. Few of them were particularly competent fighters or sailors, and the majority died swift, painful deaths after a very brief career.

          Of course, it makes for a much less compelling movie if you've only got 5-10 half-starved men on a small boat carrying 2 guns and only enough powder and shot for one and a half volleys, running away from anything that has an actual soldier aboard and mostly plundering ships that immediately surrender because they are simply too small to fight and fail to run away. The reality isn't even approximate to the fantasy.

    • If anything he''s a ninja. If Hollywood movies and weekend morning cartoons have taught us anything, it's that a trained ninja's ability is inversely proportional to the amount of the adversaries he is facing. Don't believe me? When a ninja is facing a thousand samurai, a single punch can thrust them meters away, and he will defeat them swiftly and without fail. When a ninja is facing a single samurai, it will be a duel that will be sung for centuries and. So if he hired a army of ninjas, all that Oracle
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Another stupid CEO.

      The more Ninja you have, the weaker each Ninja is. The only exception is when a sole Ninja steps forward so the others can escape.

      And the plural for Ninja is Ninja.

  • Lesson is... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by digitaldc (879047) *
    ...change your passwords often and restrict access?
  • hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld&gmail,com> on Thursday November 04, 2010 @10:54AM (#34124334) Homepage
    Seems a little silly, the proper approach is to file a motion to quash the trial subpoena. It's a pretty simple motion and would be a lot easier than hiding your CEO.
    • Actually Leo Apotheker is one of those unique individuals who can fit inside a regular computer box without any issues. He hid inside one of the HP boxes when he got the letter, knowing that this would be the one opportunity his rare skill might become handy.

      Warning to HP Customers - if your new HP computer looks suspiciously like a human being, do NOT attempt to plug it in - that is not a power adapter.

    • It's a pretty simple motion and would be a lot easier than hiding your CEO.

      Wow! Hide & Seek, Corporate Edition!

      Maybe we could settle corporate lawsuits with Hide & Seek contests, instead of trials? Up next, Nokia vs. Apple. Apple gets to hide first . . .

      Nokia: "One, two, three, four . . . "

      • by natehoy (1608657)

        I'm thinking we dress him up in a red-and-white striped shirt and put him in a few populated areas. "Where's Leo"?

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        How about we turn it into a game show like Where in the World is Leo Apotheker?

        • by Miseph (979059)

          Holy fuck, his name scans into the theme song well enough to work... it's not as catchy by a mile, but what can you do?

          Anyway, where's an all-male a capella group when you really need it?

    • And spoil the chance to play cloak and dagger for a while? Now he gets to be all dramatic and pretend he's a secret agent or something. Maybe he'll even trick out his car with missiles and oil slicks. Of course his name sounds more like a Bond villain than a 'good guy', so maybe he'll build himself a secret island fortress and transfer a bunch of HP underlings out there to be his evil henchmen. Once they finish building the doomsday satellite he'll be able to use his massive orbital weapons platform to dest
    • Seems a little silly, the proper approach is to file a motion to quash the trial subpoena. It's a pretty simple motion and would be a lot easier than hiding your CEO.

      Not if, despite your PR, there was no valid reason to quash to subpoena. So, one must conclude that either HP is acting irrationally, or...

    • You know it's a good time to start looking for a new job when your employer starts hiding the CEO from the authorities.
    • That would be the ideal approach, yes. I would speculate a motion to dismiss has already been filed and it is somewhere deep within the judge's in-box, to be considered later. In the mean time, the subpoena has been granted, as such things usually are.

      As HP has conceded that is the subsidiary committed theft, what is left is to ascertain economic damages. So what exactly is Apotheker going to testify about circa 2011 that it was not obvious that he should divulge back in 2008 or 2009 or early 2010? Noth

      • by nomadic (141991)
        They're looking to have him testify, not putting him on the rack. It's not really that big a deal, unless you have something to hide. Yes, it's stressful, yes it's unpleasant, but if you're going to be the CEO of a large company you have to be able to put up with that stuff.
  • Did anyone check the dumpster out back? That's where I'd hide the body, I mean, hide a CEO from the law.
  • by DWMorse (1816016) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @10:55AM (#34124360) Homepage
    Don't worry, they'll find him when he checks his Facebook page!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Vectormatic (1759674)

      Leo Apotheker, status: What's up doc.. eh Larry?

      Larry Ellison, status: SSSHH i'm hunting Wabb.. eh.. CEOs

      • Larry Ellison, status: SSSHH i'm hunting Wabb.. eh.. CEOsWhat is that, some kind of double-encrypted super secret transmission protocol? Do you have the specs for it? Is it up for approval as a standard?

        I guess regular old SSH isn't cutting it anymore.

  • Why not just file a motion to quash? Interesting.
  • Is it me or (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anon-Admin (443764) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @11:04AM (#34124454) Journal

    has HP become less than reputable, Sun's continued existence become questionable, Oracle's motives become dubious, all while Linux continues to gain market share.

    Ok, the Linux bit was just for fun, but really what in the heck is the Tech world smoking. It is getting strange!

    • Re:Is it me or (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sponge Bath (413667) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @11:13AM (#34124578)

      ...has HP become less than reputable

      Eventually, your reputation reflects your actions. I think HP has thoroughly buried its previous reputation as an innovator and great place to work.

      • by Machtyn (759119)
        When did you come to that reality? I got to that point at around the late 1990's. Their HP-48GX calculators were great, though (released late 80's - early '90's).
        • When did you come to that reality? I got to that point at around the late 1990's. Their HP-48GX calculators were great, though (released late 80's - early '90's).

          I call them the "Fiorina Days", and still gripe about it.

        • by mjwalshe (1680392)
          HP started going down hill in the 80's (82/82) I remember being shocked when we had a dead on arrival new hp calculator delivered - the engineer whose new calculator it was had a stream of visors who wanted to touch it to prove to themselves that hp had developed a duff piece of kit.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Software is treated like a commodity and now so are the people. In a war of Oracle vs. SAP vs. HP the only good outcome is that the management of all the companies gets drug through the mud and sent packing with their golden parachutes tucked into their cash stuffed brief cases. The nerds no longer rule the roost but the lawyers and business hacks are at the helm.
        • Software is treated like a commodity...

          There is a great deal of software that IS a commodity [wikipedia.org] from the perspective of the people who purchase/use software. Commodities are fungible [wikipedia.org] which means there are easy substitutes available. The commodity is undifferentiated from the view of the person/entity who purchases or uses it. As an example, the software on my cell phone that allows me to make calls is from my perspective undifferentiated. I have 3 phones in my house, all from different manufacturers, and from my perspective there is no meaningf

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No it's not you. I find HP's executive board's decision to make Leo CEO unstable to HP's brand. I know HP and Oracle like to work together on large deals too, so it makes for strange bedfellows. The reality is HP has some real talent in their ranks at the executive level that could have easily taken the reigns. I think there would have been more pride for the HP employees to see someone from inside their ranks get the title of CEO. But now it looks like some tech giant CEO shuffle as CEOs play pass the titl
    • I think you're right; the tech world is full of weirdness right now. Everyone was familiar with the whole "windows on the desktop, unix on server, mac for graphics" paradigms, but with the rise of the smart phones, cloud, social-media-everything, it really is a new world, but not new enough that you can't read the billboards.

      Awesome times if you embrace the weirdness; people who hold fast to the way it used to be will ....HEY GET OFF MY LAWN!

    • by drerwk (695572)
      They died when they spun off Agilent. I liked their test equipment, and possibly their early ink jet printers.
    • by Macrat (638047)

      has HP become less than reputable, Sun's continued existence become questionable

      Sun hasn't existed for quite some time.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      has HP become less than reputable, Sun's continued existence become questionable, Oracle's motives become dubious, all while Linux continues to gain market share.

      My next computer will be a Linux!

  • How about... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blisteringsilence (1290138) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @11:09AM (#34124538)
    He's traveling right now. I saw him in Plano last week, and he's been to many HP sites worldwide in the last 3 weeks, in a bid to calm employees and reassure HP's biggest customers. I don't know what this BS is about the board keeping him away. He's doing his job, meeting people and reaching out.

    And after hearing him speak and meeting with him last week, I have to say I'm impressed. He's not the used car salesman that Mark was, nor the fiery bitch that Carli was. He's kind of a geek, and a definite software nerd. Not only that, he genuinely impressed me. He's sharp and capable without being slimy. And unlike most Germans, he appears to have had his sense of humor reinstalled.

    Moreover, he's SMART about the tech HP sells, and why people buy it in a way that Mark never was.

    And I'll take that.
    • Re:How about... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 04, 2010 @11:18AM (#34124626)

      Glad you like him. We had him for too short a time I think. I totally agree with your assessment of him as a person. The only downside that I remember is that he has a small case of foot-in-mouth disease. About 1 in every 4 meetings he would say something that I'm sure made the PR people cringe. On the up side, it makes listening to his keynotes and Q&A more interesting.

      • and I think that making PR people cringe is a good thing... Wow, he is human after all. It's nice to have someone who's down to earth and has a real sense of humor leading for once. Now just to see if it trickles down through the many layers of management....
    • by Nevo (690791)
      Still, the company could accept the subpoena on his behalf. Not doing so is just going to piss off the court.
      • by ceejayoz (567949)

        I'm pretty sure you have to be served a subpoena directly.

    • Good to hear that. There is a lot of love and respect for HP among nerds. They do great work and have excellent engineers. If only they found the management and board to match the quality of their engineers, HP will be great.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        There is a lot of love and respect for HP among nerds.

        There was at one time, before Carly and Hurd, and while the illustrious founders were still alive. Speaking as a nerd.

        • by Vancorps (746090)
          Until recently I thought I was the only one with this opinion, I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking that! It's really sad to see how far they have fallen. These days it's hard to find a server manufacturer worth a damn. It basically comes down to Dell or HP, IBM is kind of a joke. IBM with their limited offerings at least has support to back it up, the other two are pathetic while HP has supply problems as of late. What do you mean I have to wait a month for 12 core servers? I've taken to just building Super
    • by yuhong (1378501)

      Which begs the big question: Will things improve for HP employees?

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Figures HP would get someone good after I leave.

    • by jafac (1449)

      He's not the used car salesman that Mark was, nor the fiery bitch that Carli was. He's kind of a geek, and a definite software nerd.

      No wonder they're trying to shut him down.

      And unlike most Germans, he appears to have had his sense of humor reinstalled.

      To which Germans, specifically, are you referring? In my experience, Germans, though possessing a very dry humor, are among the funniest sons of bitches in the world. Oh wait. The males. Not the females.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Lets see how this goes.

    Before when a small UK company didn't turn up to court, they were ruled against by default, under the assumption that whatever the prosecution said about them was uncontested.

    Here will the CEO of a big company be likewise assumed guilty?

  • I'm confused (Score:4, Interesting)

    by somaTh (1154199) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @11:15AM (#34124604) Journal
    How is HP not guilty of obstruction of justice?

    Like I really need to say it, but here it is anyway: IANAL.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      He is the CEO of an american multinational, he has spent most of his life in Belgium and Germany. I would imagine his only reasons to set foot on US soil are business meetings and site visits. Considering the extent of HPs international holdings and operations, he need never visit the nation during his tenure as chief executive. Unless you fancy trying to extradite a witness, it's probably better for Oracle just to "let it go". ... background: I worked for a US multinational corp for a decade and avoided ha

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        It's not a matter of extraditing him. He's in the US, and he will be working in the US. He is currently visiting all the HP hubs around the country/world - it's completely legitimate business, especially for a new CEO.

        They have to serve you in person. They also cannot serve you with a subpoena outside the court's jurisdiction, so until he returns to HP headquarters they are shit out of luck.

        They can't serve it to HP because HP is not a person, and is not the person the subpoena is for. So they are stuck

        • by Svartalf (2997)

          Indeed. Shrewd move as there's a time limit on trying to serve him as well. The PR people make it sound like he's deliberately doing it (contempt of court sanction time if so...) but it's not really that way- or can be phrased so it isn't so. Once the time limit's up, they have to re-file; but they may be out of time in the court case against SAP by that point.

        • by Kakari (1818872)

          They can't serve it to HP because HP is not a person

          And here I thought corporate personhood was real now.

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Because the guy is actually working (he's a new CEO, he's going to HP's hubs around the world for what boils down to a meet and greet), and you don't have to accept a subpoena.

      However if you accept it (whether you know what it is when you accept it or not), you've got to show up.

      Basically, Leo hasn't been served the subpoena yet, and until he is served he is not required to show up in court. HP is not accepting the subpoena for him (since it's not HP that the subpoena is for), so until they manage to track

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        And they can't serve him while out of the court's jurisdiction. Until he agrees to be party to the case via the subpoena, he is only subject to it while he's physically there in it's jurisdiction. Answer, don't be there but don't be seen to doing it deliberately by the court in doing it. There's a time limit on this and it's probably going to expire on Oracle before he's back to the corp offices in Texas. :-D

  • Wow. (Score:2, Funny)

    by RiotNrrd (35077)

    As someone who is a customer of both of these companies, I kinda wish they'd spend less time throwing lawsuits at each other and more time providing value to their customers. I'm just sayin'...

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Quiet, pleb. They're trying to make money here. This has nothing to do with your petty concerns as a customer. Now go buy more ink cartridges and laptops like a good lower-class-than-they-are money conduit.

  • 'Given Leo's limited knowledge of and role in the matter, Oracle's last-minute effort to require him to appear live at trial is no more than an effort to harass him and interfere with his duties and responsibilities as HP's CEO.'

    And staying away from the office, hiding somewhere out of jurisdiction isn't interfering with his duties and responsibilities? Just fucking show up, testify, and be done with it. What's that going to take, a day, a week tops?

  • Actually... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uzd4ce (1916592) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @11:24AM (#34124678)
    He's been travelling to HP sites across the globe to get face to face employee input and hopefully boost morale. I'd much rather he do that and get a handle on the company than submit to Oracle's harassment in a suit where he's already given sworn, taped testimony. The last thing HP needs is another lame-ass distraction for the CEO.
  • Hmmm..... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mseeger (40923) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @11:26AM (#34124694)

    Honestly: if Oracle is after him, the guy must be inocent.

  • All I'd have to do is stake out the next pro-am golf tourney, the most expensive ski resort, the biggest VIP box at his favorite sports team's next game, the most expensive rental in Martha's Vineyard, or the biggest sloop at the next luxury yacht regatta. Looking for a CEO at work is just stupid.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Svartalf (2997)

      Ahh... But they have to serve him WITHIN the Court's jurisdiction, else it's not proper service and carries no force of law. It's not QUITE as simple as you're making it out to be. If they don't serve him within the confines of his jurisdiction and he's off on legit company business (which he is, actually) they can't serve him and when the clock on their ability to serve the subpoena runs out they've got to try for it again- and I'll bet good money they don't have the time to do it after the clock runs o

  • and Ellison really needs to get back on his meds.

  • From TFA:

    "Oracle had ample opportunity to question Leo during his sworn deposition in October 2008 and chose not to include him as a live trial witness until he was named CEO of HP," an HP spokesperson said in a statement. "Given Leo's limited knowledge of and role in the matter, Oracle's last-minute effort to require him to appear live at trial is no more than an effort to harass him and interfere with his duties and responsibilities as HP's CEO."

    Of course, HP may be pulling the wool over our eyes. But if it was not obvious in 2008 and 2009 that live testimony would be likely necessary, then it is difficult to believe that he is so important to the suit here in late 2010.

  • there corporate paper and don't allow any trading with their stock.

    They'll drop him off anywhere they want, probably hod tied.

    Yeah, it would hurt the company, possible destroying them. To bad. OTOH, I suspect it would ever need to be done only once. Maybe just the threat would be enough.

    • On what grounds, exactly?

      Contrary to what some people think (and admittedly, contrary to how some of them act), judges are not gods who can just do whatever the hell they want. If the judge in this case issued an order like that, there would be a stay on it from the next court up faster than you could blink. And since there would be no legal grounds underpinning it, it would then be solidly overturned on appeal while the temporary stay kept it from ever having any effect anyway. Since this subpoena is again

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