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What's the Oracle Trial Against SAP Really About? 160

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
Ponca City writes "Chris O'Brien writes in the Merucry News that Larry Ellison's lawsuit against bitter rival SAP gives Ellison the opportunity to deliver the final humiliation to his company's greatest foe of the past decade while sending a blunt message to Oracle's next great enemy, Hewlett-Packard: 'This is who you are fighting. This is how determined we are to win. Get ready.' O'Brien writes that it's a crafty bit of psychological warfare that is already having the desired effect. When Oracle decided to subpoena former SAP CEO Léo Apotheker after he was appointed president and CEO of HP, Apotheker decided to stay out of the country to avoid testifying so now we have the bizarre spectacle of the new CEO of the largest technology company in the world unable to show his face in Silicon Valley. Ellison loves to fight. In gaining control of PeopleSoft, Ellison demonstrated the love of combat and confrontation that has made him one of the wealthiest men on the planet. He waged an 18-month hostile takeover bid to acquire the company, and fought off an effort by the US Department of Justice to torpedo the deal. 'Oracle probably could have settled this case [with SAP],' writes O'Brien. 'But why pass up a glorious chance to subpoena Apotheker and send your new opponent running in circles?'"
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What's the Oracle Trial Against SAP Really About?

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  • by inode_buddha (576844) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:39PM (#34181088) Journal

    I've known a few people like that, very combative types. They tend to wind up being very lonely and pathetic later in life.

  • Avoid Oracle (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:41PM (#34181100)
    Oracle seems to be an EXTREMELY abusive company.

    Let's route around it. One way: Use PostgreSQL.

    Some billionaires only care about being able to abuse people.
  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:50PM (#34181158) Homepage
    Ellison is a narcissist, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc. Those types usually never are introspective enough to realize what miserable people they are, and they're surrounded by enough sycophants that it seems on the surface that they aren't lonely.
  • by countSudoku() (1047544) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:51PM (#34181170) Homepage

    Yes, and they try and fill it up with Japanese Zen gardens and big yachts. No amount of money can make you happy, it takes an ability to work with others and a comfort in one's abilities and successes, however small. Larry is like a really loud and obnoxious Richard "Beardy" Branson, only without any charisma, or charm, or wit, or courage, or sense of adventure, or fair play. Yes, nothing at all like Beardy Branson. Larry is just a really amazing, rich, successful, single-minded, asshole. :) And that's being kind. Solaris has paid my way thus far, and now I go on without Oracle. I'm much better off for it. It's motivate me to learn real computer languages like Perl and C. Glad I skipped Java, as that looks and sounds and smells like a big chunk of Oracle shit to me now. Being closed has many disadvantages. Not the least of which is their lack of goodwill. This will bite them in the ass in good time. Meanwhile... Linux, Perl, VMware awaits. But, if you have the $$ and the Oracle wares at your shop, I'll be glad to work them for you for a much heftier price... yes, suddenly working in an Oracle shop just got way fucking expensive... for them. Oracle, just pay my way and then get the fuck out of my way. I've got no time for lucky CEOs and their wacky horseshit behaviour.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:01PM (#34181264) Homepage

    Agreed. We need fewer of these people on the planet. I can't tell if this is legal game playing or if this is just someone's interpretation of the events. But one thing for sure, this isn't "business." And Oracle is turning into quite a monster. I am sad to say that we will soon have their product in my IT shop soon. After seeing much of this going on, I would rather see MS SQL server installed.

  • Re:Beautiful... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garyisabusyguy (732330) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:05PM (#34181282)

    Why?
    Because I work with closed source software from a vendor that gives me access to Technical Reference Manuals, complete descriptions of all fields and behaviors of the tables?

    Is it because I enjoy having full access to the pl/sql code in triggers, stored procedures, workflows, forms and reports, which I can then modify to my own purposes and business objectives of my company?

    Or is it that I think SAP acted like a bunch of greedy fucks who gave Oracle very reason to limit my access to the info?

    c'mon anon, show me your mighty insight

  • by PraiseBob (1923958) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:17PM (#34181382)
    every single large is lead by a bunch of douche bags

    Do you think the Roman empire grew to its size by being nice? Every group in history that gains considerable power is led by power-hungry people. Luckily for our species, most people are content with being in love, raising a family, and enjoying life with friends and loved ones.

    A few individuals are cursed with a "vision", and have an overwhelming desire to force other people to play along. I'd wager they are extremely dissatisfied with life, despite their massive wealth and power.
  • Re:Beautiful... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PraiseBob (1923958) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:22PM (#34181412)
    I'm guessing you fit into their corporate culture pretty well...
  • Re:Beautiful... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by walshy007 (906710) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:28PM (#34181468)

    Why?

    Because you are working with a company that would not hesitate to fuck you over the moment it was convenient or the moment you stopped paying up.

    You are entitled to your masochism, but to most here working with oracle now would be akin to being a partner with microsoft of the 90's, sure, on paper you're working together.. expect to get fucked over (except with oracle they wouldn't do it technically, just 4-6 digit licensing fees you weren't expecting).

  • Re:Beautiful... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jd (1658) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:54PM (#34181660) Homepage Journal

    I strongly suspect you have left yourself crippled. Anyone who claims to be a long-time anything has failed to move forwards, has failed to adapt to the changing IT market. Nothing lasts forever and those who fail to keep up-to-date last no longer than the product they are fixed to. Oracle has moved forward. They support grid computing and clustered computing. These require a radically different mindset than those who grew up on monolithic client-server systems. Oracle will doubtless move forward again, exploiting cloud computing techniques. What use will they have for you then?

    Consider this also - companies respect loyalty, but they rarely respect blind loyalty. Spying?! For chrissakes, this isn't the Cold War! Besides, why would these "spies" trust what Oracle said, when a debugger and Wireshark would yield far more? Besides, who would want to spy on Oracle? Their RAC database is impressive in that there are no other major databases that support Infiniband, but other than that their software is ancient, slow, archaic and uncompetitive. Oracle is a has-been. They were a decent company once. Twenty years ago. Today, they're losing ground. Their acquisition of Sun was expensive and has generated few returns.

    As for a lot of information, Oracle doesn't know the meaning of the phrase. Their support site is frankly pathetic. Ingres is of the same era and used to hold many of the same attitudes, but they have matured and adapted to a new environment. Oracle have not. In evolution, those who adapt survive, those who do not die. Size is immaterial. Prime were big. Cray were big. SGI were big. Sun were big. Dinosaurs. And dinosaurs die.

  • by jd (1658) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:58PM (#34181690) Homepage Journal

    I would recommend Ingres (which is GPL) for the Data Warehouse environments, PostgreSQL for the mid-sized relational databases and Drizzle for the small-scale systems. (DO NOT support MySql as it is now an Oracle product -- support one of the official forks.)

    Likewise, I would recommend using Libre Office (as soon as it hits a major release) over and above Oracle's OpenOffice.

    For Java, I would recommend using IBM's JVM where possible (it's largely Oracle's but getting it from IBM will still kick dirt in Oracle's eyes). Where you're running a standalone Java application that can be compiled using GCJ, eliminate the JVM entirely and go native.

  • Re:Peoplesoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jd (1658) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:07PM (#34181748) Homepage Journal

    Easy. If Oracle owns all the names that the Pointy-Hair Bosses know about, Oracle rules the people with the money. Those who actually use the product? They have no say. Neither do any of the technical folk. So why would Oracle care about them?

    However, it is a dangerous game to play. IBM tried the same trick in the 1970s and 80s. It nearly destroyed them when the playing-field shifted away from mainframes. It did destroy companies like Prime. Acorn tried the same stunt in the microcomputer field. They lasted a bit longer than the giants, but they're now only producing televisions, their PC division abandoned in the dirt.

    Oracle will, eventually, fall the same way if they rely on destroying competition and propping up their brand name with buy-outs. The question is how much damage they will inflict on the markets in the meantime.

  • Re:Avoid Oracle (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:08PM (#34181758)
    There is commerce and there is abusive commerce. Eventually those who engage in abusive commerce are replaced. Before the abusive companies are replaced, it is miserable to work there.
  • Knitting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CaroKann (795685) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:26PM (#34181888)
    All HP has to do is focus on their knitting. Make great products and take great care of your customers. You don't need lots of sound-and-fury drama to be a great company
  • by twoears (1514043) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:35PM (#34181950)
    Larry Ellison is becoming more of a software terrorist every day.
  • by Chitlenz (184283) <`moc.zneltihc' `ta' `zneltihc'> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:36PM (#34181960) Homepage

    I was a DBA forever, and while I loved the 10 or so years I spent supporting Oracle I noted that consultants (for what its worth) seemed to uniformly hate the place (a note, I supported Peoplesoft Installations for awhile and we saw a lot of consultants come through from Oracle among other places..).

    It's really a shame, but when 9 came out and Oracle co-opted java for the first time, they screwed it up and it hasn't really gotten any better since. I think a big reason for this is that the office culture of the place is a reflection of Ellison's arrogance, which is somewhat demotivating (even if only privately) to the people who work there, and their products suffer. So here we are with Oracle now owning java and, surprise surprise, Ellison is out to monetize it. Folks, that's what he does. There's a reason he's one of the richest men alive, he finds choke points in the software market and either buys or kills (and replaces) them.

    He reminds me of the Wall Street people who see no moral issues with destroying everything in their path to turn a profit. It's sick, it's wrong, and this is America where for better or worse its legal. Ultimately, these super-arrogant folks will be the death of software as an industry because they simply have no concept of 'enough'. One guy told us (unconfirmed personally, but I have no reason to doubt it) that at Oracle, if you weren't in a position to replace your boss after the first year, your career there was basically over. Ellison calls this 'samurai management' or some such nonsense, but I call it bad business. It's this kind of crap that leads to workplace incivility, and this grudge-holding shit Emperor Larry is famous for is plain old simple hubris. It's ok though, he's getting too old to do it for much longer, and Oracle is rapidly becoming a product worth 1k$ instead of 100k$ per installation. Not that he'll ever be poor, but boy wouldn't it be fun to watch him be humbled.

  • by hardboiled.tequila (986536) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:32PM (#34182268)

    One guy told us (unconfirmed personally, but I have no reason to doubt it) that at Oracle, if you weren't in a position to replace your boss after the first year, your career there was basically over. Ellison calls this 'samurai management' or some such nonsense, but I call it bad business.

    I'd call it "Sith Management".

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:43PM (#34182326) Homepage
    No, I'm not. I don't want their money. I don't want their power. I don't want their problems. I certainly don't want their personalities. I think it's very sad to characterize success by money. And I'd rather be a person who my friends would like to hang out with rather than someone who created a business entity that brings in a lot of pieces of green paper. As for your statement that they have had "more influence" on my life than just about anybody else that's just absurd.
  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:44PM (#34182342)

    The subtext of your post there is that they should be worshipped and revered as a result. Despite behaving like sociopaths, despite (in the case of MS) anti-competitive, harmful actions, despite wasting a hell of a lot of taxpayer cash in the courtroom, despite being involved in the dirty and broken aspects of western democracy....

    Yeah, I'd love to have all that money, but it's true that I don't have the instinct to fuck everyone else over to get there. I don't think that's a personality type that the rest of us should aspire to, let alone worship.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:51PM (#34182388)

    If Jack Welch had stayed at GE another few years, it would have imploded. GE is only now recovering from his hollowing out of the company. His arrogance in the Honeywell debacle finally did him in, thank goodness. Now if only they can stop their lame-o ads, they might stand a chance.

    If you are a Welch fan, feel free to keep kissing his sorry ass.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:34PM (#34182630)

    One guy told us (unconfirmed personally, but I have no reason to doubt it) that at Oracle, if you weren't in a position to replace your boss after the first year, your career there was basically over. Ellison calls this 'samurai management' or some such nonsense, but I call it bad business.

    Posting as AC since I don't want my workplace and id to be linked.
    The above statement is rubbish. I work at Oracle, and its not always great - but its not too bad either. There is a lot of pressure, but you just need to know how to handle it, or push it back if necessary. Nothing any other workplace won't expose employees to.

  • Re:Beautiful... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @12:17AM (#34182896) Journal

    I disagree with the AC that you are a retard. But I have to comment on this:

    Because I work with closed source software from a vendor that gives me access to Technical Reference Manuals, complete descriptions of all fields and behaviors of the tables? Is it because I enjoy having full access to the pl/sql code in triggers, stored procedures, workflows, forms and reports, which I can then modify to my own purposes and business objectives of my company?

    A lot of companies/people seem to think that's one of the benefits of closed source software, you get to pay for the privilege of accessing some "Knowledgebase" (with "Technical Reference Manuals", FAQs, HOWTOs, whitepapers etc) and get "Support" etc.

    When the fact is with stuff like Postgresql, you often don't need all that because you get to
    1) See the technical details and similar stuff for free
    2) Post a question on a mailing list, to which the developers reply without any marketing/PR bullshit involved.

    I've dealt with OSS and closed source stuff. And there've been many times with the latter that they ask $$$ for access to find out something that would be found by Google if it was OSS.

  • by yuhong (1378501) <yuhongbao_386@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @12:27AM (#34182946) Homepage

    Yea, I know! The saddest part of it, however, is that even if current MBA courses have stopped teaching the flawed theories used by Jack Welch (like cutting costs), there are still many MBAs from that age who still believe in them. Board of directors needs to stop giving them jobs as CEOs. Finance would I think be a better job for them.

  • Re:Beautiful... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fishbowl (7759) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @02:06PM (#34188282)

    >The majority of Open Source projects have shitty, old or no documentation at all.

    PostgreSQL is not in this set.

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