Tying up the HP CEO in court room time

Opinion

Tying up the HP CEO in court room time

If you want to distract one of your arch rivals from keeping their eye on the ball there is nothing like a court case to help do that.

So it came as little surprise to see that Oracle is looking to get former SAP CEO and the latest boss of HP Leo Apotheker embroiled in the court case that has been running for a fair old while between the two software vendors.

In a brief nutshell the arguments started after a division of SAP downloaded and used Oracle's code around three years ago. If memory serves me right there was an admission that wrong doing had indeed been done but this was as a result of a mistake and procedures and policy had been changed to ensure it never happened again.

But three years later and the legal wheels have turned to the point where a court date is now close and the chance to get Apotheker embroiled in the business in his previous role as SAP CEO.

Of course in many ways it is going to be very much like the moment the former BP chief Tony Hayward had to face US politicians about the oil spill in New Mexico. He argued, quite rightly, that as CEO he would not have visibility of the decisions and actions that led to that problem.

The same is probably going to be true of Apotheker who will point out that SAP is a pretty large outfit and he could not know what every individual programmer was up to. He was also trying to get the firm through a tough recession as well so his mind might well have been on other problems.

But of course in his current role as CEO of HP that is not really the point and just bogging down his diary and his mental energy in this case is something that presumably will bring a smile to the faces of those executives at Oracle working so hard to compete against Leo's current company.

This was first published in November 2010

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