Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison has reiterated his accusations against former SAP chief executive Léo Apotheker days before the TomorrowNow industrial espionage trial is due to begin.
Ellison accuses Apotheker, now chief executive at HP, of overseeing the repeated theft of large amounts of Oracle software.
"A major portion of this theft occurred while Mr Apotheker was chief executive of SAP," Ellison said in a statement.
"HP's chairman, Ray Lane, immediately came to Mr Apotheker's defence by writing a letter stating: 'Oracle has been litigating this case for years, and has never offered any evidence that Mr Apotheker was involved.'"
However, Ellison is confident that evidence provided during the trial will prove Apotheker's involvement, and even suggested that HP will not want him to testify.
"I don't think Ray Lane wants to risk Leo Apotheker testifying under oath as to why he allowed the theft of Oracle property to continue for eight months after he was made sole chief executive of SAP," the statement continued.
"I hope I'm wrong, but my guess is that Mr Lane will keep Mr Apotheker far away from the courthouse until this trial is over."
Ellison criticised the appointment of Apotheker, claiming that the HP board should "resign en masse right away" and that "the madness must stop".
During a conference call to discuss SAP’s third quarter results, co-chief executive Bill McDermott responded to Ellison’s comments. He said SAP assumed responsibility for any damages incurred by Oracle, and would now wait for the courts to make a decision.
“We recognise that TomorrowNow – as a small company – made some mistakes. We’ve owned up to that,” he added.
SAP attempted to gag Oracle before the trial by asking the court to block anyone from Oracle making comments that SAP might find uncomfortable, and that could potentially harm its reputation. It appears that this has not had the desired effect.
HP responded with a strongly worded statement.
“Oracle had ample opportunity to question Leo during his sworn deposition in October 2008 and chose not to include him as a trial witness until he was named chief executive of HP," the firm said.
"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 chief executive.”
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