Eye on Oracle

Jul 30 2008   8:23AM GMT

Did SAP ignore Oracle’s legal warnings?

Shayna Garlick Shayna Garlick Profile: Shayna Garlick

Conspiracy; espionage; “Project Blue;” massive illegal downloading; corporate theft on a grand scale.

These are just a few of the many words Oracle has used to describe SAP’s alleged illegal activity with its third-party support subsidiary, TomorrowNow.

What are Oracle’s latest accusations, and how has SAP responded?

In a court filing amended for a second time Monday, Oracle is now claiming that SAP was aware of and covered up TomorrowNow’s illegal activity — an operation, which Oracle says SAP called “Project Blue.” According to Oracle,  SAP “unlawfully accessed, copied and wrongfully used Oracle’s enterprise software applications and [specifically] Software and Support Materials.”

This comes right after SAP closed the books on its troublesome TomorrowNow chapter last week by cutting ties with the company and sending TomorrowNow customers back to Oracle or cheaper third-party supports.

Although SAP denied that the lawsuit was connected with its decision to close TomorrowNow, in this article attorney Hillard M. Sterling says differently:

“This is SAP’s way to rid itself of a troubled subsidiary, as well as a problematic lawsuit… Clearly there was impropriety. SAP’s only hope is to settle the lawsuit quickly and avoid becoming connected with the allegations.”

Now it seems to be too late. In this second-amended complaint, Oracle takes the TomorrowNow suit right to SAP’s door. The 70-page document(pdf) alleges that over three years ago, SAP executive board members received a “business case” presentation for the purchase of TomorrowNow, in which it was “made clear that TomorrowNow did not operate legally.” The SAP executives allegedly ignored these warnings.

Here are some other accusations and points made by Oracle against SAP in the latest court filing:

– “For years, SAP AG profited from SAP TN’s illegal business model, without breathing a word about it to Oracle, SAP AG’s existing and prospective customers, or the investing public.”

  -“… SAP has spent years systematically taking unauthorized support materials from Oracle’s systems, most recently using a dedicated bank of twenty servers in a “download center” and a customized software tool called “Titan.”

– “In many instances, including the ones described above, SAP TN employees used the log-in IDs of multiple customers, combined with phony user log-in information, to gain access to Oracle’s system under false pretexts.”

-“SAP appears to have downloaded virtually every file, in every library that it could find.”

-“The downloads are just a piece of a larger scheme. For years, dating atleast to 2003, SAP TN created thousands of copies of Oracle’s actual software applications.”

These are clearly some heavy allegations, but SAP has remained fairly quiet the second time around. After the first-amended complaint by Oracle last July, SAP released this statement, in which they acknowledged inappropriate downloads at TomorrowNow but denied that they had access to these materials. 

SAP issued the following response Monday: “This amended complaint [by Oracle] repeats many of the themes and allegations in Oracle’s amended complaint filed in 2007. SAP will respond to this amended complaint in Court [on September 11, 2008].”

Are you surprised by these allegations? Do you think SAP’s closure of TomorrowNow was a hint in their alleged involvement? Do you have any predictions as to how this will be resolved?

2  Comments on this Post

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  • Sivas Sivaskanthan
    I must say that I am very surprised, but it would be worthwhile to listen to SAPs' complete response.
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  • Lee
    Anybody can download the documentation and Oracle software. They offer it on technet.oracle.com However, it turns they can then sue you for doing that.
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