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

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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  • Sybase (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:45PM (#34181138)
    I have no clue if this is important in this discussion, but SAP acquired Sybase [] earlier this year.
  • The real question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cosm ( 1072588 ) <> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:47PM (#34181152)
    Will Ellison's douchemonkeyness detriment the people? The community? If his fights are just and his gains are pure and the losses he causes others to incur do not get passed onto the populace, cool. Otherwise, I don't think they're going to have too many friends after the dust settles.
  • by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @08:01PM (#34181260) Journal

    These companies are situated in the center of one of the largest changes in human history. Computers and software applications have enabled numerous advances in civilization and benefitted society in countless ways. Despite all the good that has come from computers, it seems like without exception, every single large computer company is lead by a bunch of douche bags who apparently have little concern for anything beyond themselves and their vision of how they want things to be.

  • Re:Sybase (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:12PM (#34181784) Homepage Journal

    Oh, it quite likely is. Oracle doesn't like competition, and for SAP to have a database they can now tune to their products --- that's not something that will sit at all well with Oracle.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:15PM (#34181814) Homepage Journal

    I dunno. Think about this. If HP's CEO "happens" to end up in a country with no corporate tax, the company can move its "official" HQ there. Instant tax haven - and one that any revision of tax laws couldn't do much about because it would involve the CEO and not just some unused office with only a janitor in it.

  • by clarkkent09 ( 1104833 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:14PM (#34182172)

    You are just jealous. All three people you mentioned created multi-billion companies out of nothing, employed hundreds of thousands of people, paid billions in taxes. They have each had more influence on your life than just about anybody else except perhaps your parents. Maybe you are right about the narcissism but it takes obsessive, driven types to do what they did even if they might not be the nicest people to hang out with.

  • by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) * <> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:45PM (#34182706) Homepage Journal

    I've actually talked to the man on a few occasions - right time and right place for a 5'th level peasant in my case. The bit that most of this thread seems to miss is this guy *really* understands the technical details as well as the business end. If you ask why, he can and does answer. He will also make a decision - unlike many management of (former, now acquired) companies and even change course when something does not pan out. His play style, in the business world, reminds me of the Adaptive AI in SupCom:FA.

    Honestly, he seemed human.

  • by treeves ( 963993 ) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @12:09AM (#34182852) Homepage Journal

    What does it mean to be miserable without even realizing it? Is that even possible? Insufferable perhaps, but how can there be misery without awareness?

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

    by Vancorps ( 746090 ) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @12:56AM (#34183068)

    While I agree with you on principle, Oracle documentation is second to none and that's better than having to post to some mailing list and then having to send configs along with version dependencies. I would so there are lots of pros and cons of both sides of this. Google is not a great way to get documentation on something specific. Just yesterday I was searching for the cause to one-way communication between an Asterisk 1.4 and an Asterisk 1.6 box that had been upgraded from 1.4 and was using the same config. It took a very long time. Contrast that with virtually any Oracle issue which can be resolved within ten minutes on Metalink or if things really get hairy, within two hours via a support request.

    Often times you do get what you pay for even if you have to pay too much to get it. I'll agree most of that should be free and in the interest of adoption of product lines that would actually probably be a smart move from a business standpoint. I look at all the people running away from Sun servers because everything is hidden away now by Oracle so its easy to see that hiding the documentation just makes people look for something more open.

    Oracle is in serious trouble these days despite their spending spree, they lack focus and it shows in their product line. I think most people would agree that you only use Oracle for the database, all of their other apps are simply a joke with open source alternatives being very attractive for reporting and collaboration. ERP options still appear to be lacking but the concept as a whole seems to going away anyway. That's probably why Oracle wanted Sun, to have a complete platform for their database completely supported from head to toe the way Apple does it.

  • by Chitlenz ( 184283 ) <chitlenz.chitlenz@com> on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:07AM (#34183126) Homepage

    There is a lot of pressure, but you just need to know how to handle it, or push it back if necessary

    You are welcome to defend your employer, and at Oracle I don't blame you for using AC to do it, but this is not exactly an observation I came up with out of the blue sky...

    I'll just leave this here for you bud. []

    Please understand, I think Oracle is a great product at its core. It almost literally runs the world at this point, I just question from both public articles (such as linked) and personal experience (15 years as a DBA, architect, developer, and now Development Officer) Oracle's tactics. Even if they were the greatest employer EVER, it still wouldn't excuse they way they treat their customers. They routinely overcharge for services and pad consulting gigs.

    I've been deposed by Oracle in court before (as part of a PS lawsuit), and watching them treat their customers like dogs speaks volumes. I refuse to believe anyone with the kind of sleazy ethics I watched performed (on more than one occasion I might add) can somehow magically be paradigms of humanity internally. On one particularly memorable occasion, I watched Peoplesoft almost destroy a company by trying to implement a beta version of a SQL Server based product(before Oracle bought them), and then got to watch Oracle (via the courts, after the PS buyout) trying to defend Microsoft as a perfectly viable platform. These weren't lawyers,by the way. When it's 25M$ or so of trainwreck, you get real life VP's to show up and lie.

  • by Trintech ( 1137007 ) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:12AM (#34183152)

    Do you think the Roman empire grew to its size by being nice?

    No, I wouldn't say they were necessarily nice but one of the major reasons the Romans succeeded in creating such a vast empire was because they absorbed the culture of the people that they were conquering. This made the transition easier and made revolt far less likely because, in general, people don't care what ruler they are paying tribute (taxes) to; they only care if the amount goes up or it changes how they live their lives.

    I think Oracle et al. could learn a lot from the Roman approach.

  • by NoOneInParticular ( 221808 ) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @03:12AM (#34183658)
    If by absorbing you mean killing one third, enslaving another third, leaving the last third of the population shiver in fear, then yes, the Romans did absorb the culture of people they were conquering (Gaul).

    I'm not sure what kind of fairy tails you've been reading, but the Romans were the most ruthless culture of their age. By looking at the remains of Sun, yes, we can say Oracle has learned from the Roman approach.

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

    by walshy007 ( 906710 ) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @03:57AM (#34183808)

    Are you trying to say MySQL or Postgresql are equal to Oracle in performance, reliability, or documentation?

    I'm saying that oracle is becoming more and more irrelevant, as some high scale deployments [] of other software shows.

    Some licensing schemes with oracle can wind up costing companies almost a million dollars [] per year. That equates to quite a few extra full time employed database administrators.. which would more than be able to make up for any perceived lack of documentation etc.

    There really are very few scenarios left where you actually need oracle for your database.

  • Evil is as evil does (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @03:44PM (#34189258)

    I worked at Peoplesoft during the hostile takeover. It was brutal and devastating. For me, Peoplesoft was the best job I ever had. There was excellent compensation and more importantly esprit d corps. It was the happiest place I have ever been. I truly enjoyed going to work every day. I did the best work of my career there. The group I worked with had their stuff together, we were incredibly productive. The internal BBS, was a great resource for all things from tech support to Giants tickets. Yesterday I was travelling from SF through Pleasanton on 580. I passed HQG and was overcome by sadness. I fucking hate Oracle and Larry Ellison.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford