Channel Marker

March 26, 2007  8:15 PM

SAP VARs at risk from lawsuit

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

Although Oracle’s lawsuit against SAP is directed against the German-based software giant, SAP’s channel partners could also be held culpable for any role they may have had for using software and documentation that turns out to have been illegally obtained, according to one lawyer specializing in intellectual property law.

Systems integrators (SIs) and consulting firms that provide support for Oracle products should prepare for any potential legal action by documenting what they did and didn’t know about the origins of materials given to them by SAP, according to Tucker Griffith, partner at McCormick, Paulding & Huber LLP.

Those partners are at risk if Oracle is “going on a theory that this was stolen material — and I’m pretty sure they are going on that theory — and if they’re going on the theory that some of the stuff was trade-secret protected,” Griffith said. “If you [the VAR] had reason to suspect it was stolen, or suspect it came from illegal means and illegal sources, then you might have some culpability.”

It would also be prudent for partners whose contracts with SAP do not include an indemnity clause to negotiate with the company to get one, he said. Indemnity clauses, in which one company insures another against lawsuits, can be written with generic language or be specific enough to, for example, specify whether the party offering indemnity will also cover court fees, he said.

Those partners who find themselves needing to negotiate for indemnity may have some leverage, though. Partners can point to the bad press the suit may generate for SAP and hint that they would consider migrating to other vendors if SAP does not earn their loyalty, Griffith said.

The lawsuit against SAP alleges that TomorrowNow, a provider of third-party Oracle support that SAP acquired in 2005, used Oracle customers’ login information to access Oracle’s support site. There, according to the 44-page complaint Oracle filed last week, TomorrowNow downloaded thousands of materials — software and documentation — which it then used to undercut Oracle’s own support.

But players at TomorrowNow, and SAP may have not thought they were doing anything wrong, Griffith said. They did not appear to try to cover up their tracks — the logins were traced back to computers in Bryan, Tex. where TomorrowNow is located — and Oracle did not take steps to prevent bulk downloads like those it accuses TomorrowNow of making.

“The defense would be well: we thought there was nothing wrong, because if we thought there was something wrong about it, we would have made it less obvious, less blatant,” Griffith said.

Oracle and SAP have continued to remain mostly silent about the suit, although SAP did issue a press release Friday saying that it will “aggressively defend against the claims made by Oracle.”

Yuval Shavit

March 26, 2007  7:03 AM

Channel news: Verizon dings Vonage; Regs challenge SMBs

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Vonage told to stop using Verizon technology A judge ordered the Internet-based telephone service to stop using technologies patented by Verizon Communications. [NYT]

SMBs face big challenges in meeting regulatory requirements Managed services and better policies can help SMBs deal with costs associated with archiving and protecting data in the name of compliance. [eWEEK]

Wireless industry gears up for WiMax Where does 3G wireless go from here? Many equipment makers and carriers are looking to the packet-based technology known as WiMax. [CNET]

Windows weakness can lead to network traffic hijacks Problem in the way Windows PCs obtain network settings could let attackers hijack traffic, researchers warn. [CNET]

Continued »

March 23, 2007  5:44 PM

Oracle’s suit against SAP could drag in partners

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

The news that Oracle sued SAP shocked the IT industry yesterday, and the dust hasn’t begun to settle yet. In addition to SAP and its wholly-owned subsidiary TomorrowNow, Oracle named 50 “Doe” defendants who are still unknown but may include channel partners such as systems integrators and resellers.

TomorrowNow provides third-party support for Oracle products, especially its PeopleSoft and JD Edwards lines of applications, at half the cost Oracle charges. It also works with several consultancies and systems integrators to provide support on their behalf. About a dozen or so of these are smaller, regional-level firms, said Bob Geib, vice president of sales at TomorrowNow, in an interview with earlier this month.

Because many of those firms fear retaliation from Oracle for providing support through TomorrowNow, Geib said, “many, many of our efforts with partners are what I would call under-the-radar opportunities.”

It is unclear whether any of those partners may be dragged into the suit. But one clause in Oracle’s filing reads:

“Oracle is currently unaware of the true names and capacities of Does 1 through 50, inclusive, whether individual, partnership, corporation, unincorporated association, or otherwise, and therefore sues these defendants by such fictitious names. Oracle will amend this Complaint to allege their true names and capacities when ascertained.”

According to the suit, TomorrowNow’s “cut rate support” was made possible, at least in part, from thousands of illegal downloads of software, patches, documentation and other information made by TomorrowNow using logins provided by Oracle customers whose service agreements were about to expire.

The nature of those service agreements does not allow Oracle’s customers to share those downloads with third parties, and many customers downloaded information they themselves were not authorized to access, Oracle chrged.

TomorrowNow was founded by former PeopleSoft employees and was acquired by SAP in January 2005, at about the same time Oracle announced it would acquire PeopleSoft. Oracle claims in the suit that the timing is not coincidental, but does not provide further evidence.

Oracle and SAP both declined to comment further on the lawsuit as of Friday evening.

Yuval Shavit

March 23, 2007  8:06 AM

Channel news: Oracle sues SAP for theft; SAP to standardize SOA

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Oracle sues SAP for ‘stealing software’ Oracle has filed a lawsuit against SAP, charging the German software giant with “corporate theft on a grand scale.” []

SOA: SAP to offer standardized processes SAP has announced that it will offer standardized processes to help companies in designing business processes and implementing SOA plans.[]

Cisco slugs FTC-addled McData Cisco Systems appears to have made the most out of FTC scrutiny surrounding the union between Brocade and McData. Cisco’s share of the switch and HBA market rose 2.2%, while McData’s dropped 2.6 %.

802.11n will require upgrades 802.11n, the new Wi-Fi standard on the cusp of being ratified by the IEEE, offers greater throughput and better range than other standards but may require companies to upgrade their wireless network infrastructure.[]

Continued »

March 22, 2007  1:25 PM

FCC’s jurisdiction over VoIP confirmed

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

A federal appeals court (8th Circuit) has upheld the FCC’s 2004 conclusion that VoIP providers (like Vonage) provide an interstate service that frees them from state control.

This ruling confirms the FCC‘s jurisdiction over VoIP, acting as regulators over the digital communication technology in similar fashion to their authority over regular telecommunications.

Despite this case dealing mostly with the more consumer market-focused Vonage, it has overtones that will affect the channel and the businesses that look to networking consultants and VARs to provide solutions for their communications needs. In short, it’s much easier to trust and invest in a technology that has an established federal commission overseeing it.

As a result, businesses can be expected to view VoIP communications as an even more viable alternative to traditional circuit-switched telephones. For networking channel professionals looking for help and ideas for selling these systems, as well as suggestions for the actual set-up, recently launched a VoIP Project Guide that answers many questions and offers helpful insight.

Thoughts on this ruling? Ideas on VoIP? Drop me a line!

~Eric Pierce

March 22, 2007  12:03 PM

Should I go get some news, or stay here and talk about it?

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Cisco’s Charlie Giancarlo is a pretty smart guy (he’s chief development officer, so that’s more of a job requirement than a compliment), but I’m not sure he has as tight a hold on differing forms of information as he does on different kinds of data.

In a blog yesterday, he seemed to recommend that reporters spend as much time talking online about their stories as they do researching and writing:

Some publications are even requesting (aka requiring) their reporters to blog as a part of their job. I would argue that tracking your stories in the blogosphere and participating as the bylined reporter in the conversation is more important than authoring your own blog as a reporter, but far be it from me to suggest what a major media outlet should have their employees doing…or not doing.

It’s not a bad point. News outlets typically stink at two-way conversations with readers, not least because journalists are often as thin-skinned about criticism from readers as the people they cover are about criticism from the media.

But what’s the benefit to readers of having a reporter write a story, then spend a ton of time blogging back and forth about how it should be interpreted, the research behind it, and the value of the sources or comments in it?

Continued »

March 22, 2007  9:49 AM

Free e-learning resource for Cisco nets

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Via Cisco has posted free online training for its APX/IPX firewall. “Some of the topics are neat…’How to set up Packet Tracers’ ‘How to set up SSL VPNs.’ The modules DO actually describe how to do these things if you can bear the pain of listening to a computer generated voice reading a script someone wrote.”

March 22, 2007  7:36 AM

Channel news: States can’t touch VoIP; no change in PC sales

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Court backs FCC over states in VoIP case A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a decision by the Federal Communications Commission that barred states, including Minnesota, from regulating Internet-based phone services. [AP]

Gartner: Look for little change in worldwide PC shipment, revenue Worldwide PC shipments are forecast to total 255.7 million units in 2007, a 10.5% increase from 2006, while PC revenue is projected to reach $213.7 billion, a 4.6% increase, according to the latest forecast by Gartner. [Teknorati]

IDC Report: Virtualization Cannibalizes Server Sales IDC’s new report indicates that multicore and virtualization will cost the x86 market more than 4.5 million shipments and $2.4 billion in customer spending between 2006 and 2010. Overall, x86 shipments that were once projected to increase 61% by 2010 are now facing just 39% growth during that same period. [NewsFactor Network]

Palm purchased by Friday? Nokia, Moto among potential owners, it’s said. [TheReg]

Alaska and Dell team on $38bn bungle When storage specialists attack.  [TheReg]

Explaining a Vista ban  The National Institute of Standards and Technology has put a moratorium on using Windows Vista, but that’s business as usual, says agency’s CIO. [CNET]

Microsoft continues to fine-tune Vista licensing Microsoft is offering users who purchase one Vista license — full or upgrade, purchased either at retail or via a PC-preload deal — the right to buy multiple additional copies at 10% off retail price per copy. At its heart, the promo is just as much, if not more, about fighting piracy as it is about spurring
Vista sales.

Measuring Vista’s true security muscle will take time Researchers are digging through the Windows Vista code right now, and when they find flaws we’ll hear about it. But it’s the ones we don’t hear about that should keep us up at night. []

Symantec says fixing licensing portal top priority Company officials say help is on the way as fallout continues from the merger of Symantec and Veritas ordering systems last November.[]

T.J. Maxx parent company sued in credit card hack probe Major shareholder files lawsuit seeking documents related to an incident that left customer information vulnerable. [CNET]

Sun hires top Linux developer to market Solaris Sun Microsystems Inc. has hired one of the best known developers of Linux software to market its Solaris operating system as it seeks to improve ties to the open-source community. [Reuters]

Apple makes biggest move yet into living rooms Apple Inc. made its biggest move yet into the living room on Wednesday by starting shipments of the Apple TV box, a gizmo that lets people take music, photos and video stored on a computer and play them on a television screen. [Reuters]

SOA specs SCA and SDO headed for OASIS and the JCP The Open SOA group has finally found a standards body homes for its two key specifications, Service Component Architecture (SCA) and Service Data Objects (SDO) at OASIS and JCP.[]

The size of a paperback and most of the functions of a real PC Hoping to put a PC in every purse, Samsung has upgraded its Q1 line of tiny 1.7-pound portable computers. [NYT]

Windows applications in Ubuntu with a seamless desktop A step by step tutorial on how to set up Windows applications to work seamlessly with the new Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn. [ via Digg]

March 21, 2007  1:03 PM

Google’s space-age SneakerNet

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Remember SneakerNet? Think it’s gone? Except for that once-in-a-while you have to use it because the bandwidth is too small or two machines won’t talk to each other?


According to a Wired story, Google has decided it’s faster to drive data from one place to another if the volume of data is high enough.

In this case it’s 120TB – nearly all the astronomical data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope. A Google program manager named Chris DiBona (whose pic makes him look like Penn Jillette in pirate drag) is overseeing an informal arrangement in which Google acts as data repository and distributor for scientists with really large chunks of data to move.

Rather than spend a month loading data into packets and sending it over the network, the Google crew is loading the data onto cheap-PC hard drives and FedExing them between the Hubble Telescope crew and its own facilities. It only takes about a day to load up the data, and FedEx delivers overnight.

It will use the same procedure to send copies of the data to other scientists, or to collect and distribute data from other scientists.

That’s a long way from sending an intern across the office with a floppy disk. But every technology has to be updated to accommodate modern requirements. Even SneakerNet.  

March 21, 2007  6:58 AM

Channel news: Novell improves ID; server buyers go for muscle

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Novell identity management marries event monitoring At its annual BrainShare conference, Novell announced it would combine its Identity Manager 3.5 application with the company’s existing network monitoring and login tools. []

Server buyers shift toward muscle machines Average server prices actually increased in the fourth quarter, marking a purchasing shift toward beefier machines that handle more work. [CNET]

Virtualization and multicore innovations disrupting the worldwide server market IDC says the rapid emergence of multicore architectures and virtualization technologies is significantly restricting worldwide x86 server shipments. According to IDC’s updated forecast, multicore and virtualization will cost the x86 market more than 4.5 million shipments and $2.4 billion in customer spending between 2006 and 2010. [Tekrati]

Oracle says profit rose 35% to exceed expectations Lawrence J. Ellison’s three-year buying spree as chief executive of Oracle appears to be paying off. [NYT]

Continued »

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