Eye on Oracle

Mar 26 2007   1:06PM GMT

Oracle sues SAP: The real deal, or frivolous and hypocritical?

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Last week we reported that a number of analysts think Oracle’s lawsuit against SAP is a serious and substantial thing.

One blogger at InfoWorld sees it differently. In a post titled “Oracle sues SAP for allegedly behaving like it has toward Linux,” Matt Asay announces that his first reaction to the lawsuit was “What a waste.” To boot, he claims that the lawsuit is essentially a case of the pot calling the kettle black — Oracle, he says, is accusing SAP of the same shenanigans it recently pulled on Red Hat:

Replace “SAP” with “Oracle,” and “Oracle” with “Red Hat,” and “illegal” with “legal but gauche,” and you’ll get a rough picture of what Oracle has attempted to do with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Rather than build up its own distribution, Oracle has opted to piggyback on Red Hat’s labor and brand. What it’s doing is not illegal — the key difference, perhaps, between what it alleges of SAP and what Oracle has done to Red Hat — but it’s still humorous.

But just how key is this “key difference”? As Asay admits himself, Oracle didn’t break any laws — Red Hat is open source. So can Oracle be fairly accused of hypocrisy here?

Asay also points out a few other takes around the Web, including that of Josh Greenbaum, who think this case illustrates how important third-party support providers are becoming: the announcement, he says, “highlights the effectiveness with which TomorrowNow is hitting Oracle where it hurts: right in the old maintenance fee.”


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