So, Leo Apotheker, former CEO of SAP will, as of November 1, be CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
Apotheker was pushed out of SAP last February (Super Bowl Sunday in fact) when the board declined to renew his contract. One reason often cited for that decision was SAP’s poor showing against Oracle which was stealing SAP ERP customers. Oracle earnings calls are always studded with “customer wins” over SAP. Of course Oracle was never a company to shy away from exaggeration.)
Oracle last month hired HP’s deposed CEO Mark Hurd as co-president after his surprising ouster from Hewlett-Packard. In Hurd, Oracle gets some much needed hardware expertise. Perhaps Apotheker will bring some software savoir faire to HP?
The fact that HP also tapped Ray Lane, the Kleiner Perkins VC star and former Oracle president for its board is perhaps even more interesting than the Apotheker call. More than a decade ago, Lane was credited with restoring credibility to Oracle’s business practices after a big accounting scandal. But, as often happens at Oracle, the number two guy couldn’t get along with the number one guy ( Larry Ellison) for long. So Lane left.
SAP and HP have been pretty good allies for some time. There were even rumors that HP would buy out the ERP kingpin. In any case, HP now is girding its loins for what looks to be a pretty good dust up with Oracle (as well as traditional rivals IBM and Dell) in hardware.
Pull up a chair. This’ll be good!