SAP Watch

Jul 3 2007   5:16AM GMT

SAP admits to ‘inappropriate downloads’

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy

SAP has officially responded to Oracle’s lawsuit. While a good chunk of the case remains bluster and hot air, according to SAP, chief Kagermann did raise some eyebrows by admitting certain “inappropriate downloads”. It’s worth noting, however, that SAP is taking great pains to isolate itself from its TomorrowNow branch. From the Brisbane Times:

[SAP] said its US subsidiary TomorrowNow had legally downloaded support documents from the website of Oracle but had also made “some inappropriate downloads of fixes and support documents.”

SAP stressed however that the rest of the group did not have access to the intellectual property downloaded by the US unit.

“What was downloaded at TomorrowNow stayed in that subsidiary’s separate systems. SAP did not have access to Oracle intellectual property via TomorrowNow.”

This is an interesting yet not entirely unexpected move, since it in effect seals the hatch between the main SAP ship and TomorrowNow’s leaking compartment. I’m no legal expert, but what I do know is that it’s too early to read too much into it. Yes, SAP could be preparing to jettison the whole thing (very unlikely). Or they could be working on a legal strategy that will end up with a sensible settlement (yes, that door has been nudged open again, despite initial assurances to the contrary). Or, it could be something as simple as PR damage control. If nothing else it seems like putting a neat little box around the problem might help preserve some integrity in the minds of the customers.

Either way, SAP probably has good reasons for keeping TomorrowNow at arm’s length until the dust settles.

Forbes reported that the SAP executive team were disappointed with Oracle’s aggressive litigation, arguing that it would have made more sense to come to them directly rather than get courts involved. Disappointed but hardly surprised, I bet, kind of like I’ll be disappointed but not surprised next time I fail to get a non-canned response from my Internet provider’s support site.

No, this is just too nice of a show for Ellison to pass up. I still believe he has little incentive to see this all the way through, but he’ll wring every ounce of fun out of it up until that point. Stay tuned for more as the story develops…

Matt Danielsson

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