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What's the Oracle Trial Against SAP Really About?

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.

Businesses 160

Ponca City writes "Chris O'Brien writes in the Merucry News that Larry Ellison's lawsuit against bitter rival SAP gives Ellison the opportunity to deliver the final humiliation to his company's greatest foe of the past decade while sending a blunt message to Oracle's next great enemy, Hewlett-Packard: 'This is who you are fighting. This is how determined we are to win. Get ready.' O'Brien writes that it's a crafty bit of psychological warfare that is already having the desired effect. When Oracle decided to subpoena former SAP CEO Léo Apotheker after he was appointed president and CEO of HP, Apotheker decided to stay out of the country to avoid testifying so now we have the bizarre spectacle of the new CEO of the largest technology company in the world unable to show his face in Silicon Valley. Ellison loves to fight. In gaining control of PeopleSoft, Ellison demonstrated the love of combat and confrontation that has made him one of the wealthiest men on the planet. He waged an 18-month hostile takeover bid to acquire the company, and fought off an effort by the US Department of Justice to torpedo the deal. 'Oracle probably could have settled this case [with SAP],' writes O'Brien. 'But why pass up a glorious chance to subpoena Apotheker and send your new opponent running in circles?'"

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Beautiful... (0, Flamebait)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181010)

Simply beautiful, to have your opponent by the throat, and then get a chance to show the whole world what a scoundrel they are

As a long-time Oracle developer, I have always wondered how they could afford to put so much information on their support site, and I was worried that the 'spying' by SAP was going to make them shut down access to the info.

Instead we get a show, love the theater!

Re:Beautiful... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181118)

Jesus fuck you're a complete goddamn retard.

Re:Beautiful... (5, Insightful)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181282)

Why?
Because I work with closed source software from a vendor that gives me access to Technical Reference Manuals, complete descriptions of all fields and behaviors of the tables?

Is it because I enjoy having full access to the pl/sql code in triggers, stored procedures, workflows, forms and reports, which I can then modify to my own purposes and business objectives of my company?

Or is it that I think SAP acted like a bunch of greedy fucks who gave Oracle very reason to limit my access to the info?

c'mon anon, show me your mighty insight

Re:Beautiful... (4, Insightful)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181468)

Why?

Because you are working with a company that would not hesitate to fuck you over the moment it was convenient or the moment you stopped paying up.

You are entitled to your masochism, but to most here working with oracle now would be akin to being a partner with microsoft of the 90's, sure, on paper you're working together.. expect to get fucked over (except with oracle they wouldn't do it technically, just 4-6 digit licensing fees you weren't expecting).

Re:Beautiful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181664)

I don't like Oracle.
I don't like Microsoft.
I don't like Capitalism carried to its ultimate expression.
But you folks aren't doing Open Source much benefit by constantly dragging up this microsoft of the 90's meme. You've spent uncounted hours duplicating the Microsoft User Experience and still the majority of people don't give a shit about Open Source, even if they've heard of it. If winning is what it's all about to you then go out there and win it. Develop an OS that blows people's minds. You know, something bigger than a two month fragging about purple and orange. Your hearts are in the right place, and you certainly have the intellectual horsepower. You as a movement have just become culturally inbred. Like Microsoft has. Learn that from your enemy and you'll do well. But you have to put down the banners a bit.

Oh, and let the man earn his living as he sees fit. "Most here" is a pretty small number in the Big Blue Room.

Re:Beautiful... (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183004)

Except for those of us that actually make money based on applications that the database drives.

Are you trying to say MySQL or Postgresql are equal to Oracle in performance, reliability, or documentation? While Oracle does suck as a company their database core business is rock solid for a lot of good reasons. Of course if you venture outside the one thing Oracle does well heaven help you.

Re:Beautiful... (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182896)

I disagree with the AC that you are a retard. But I have to comment on this:

Because I work with closed source software from a vendor that gives me access to Technical Reference Manuals, complete descriptions of all fields and behaviors of the tables? Is it because I enjoy having full access to the pl/sql code in triggers, stored procedures, workflows, forms and reports, which I can then modify to my own purposes and business objectives of my company?

A lot of companies/people seem to think that's one of the benefits of closed source software, you get to pay for the privilege of accessing some "Knowledgebase" (with "Technical Reference Manuals", FAQs, HOWTOs, whitepapers etc) and get "Support" etc.

When the fact is with stuff like Postgresql, you often don't need all that because you get to
1) See the technical details and similar stuff for free
2) Post a question on a mailing list, to which the developers reply without any marketing/PR bullshit involved.

I've dealt with OSS and closed source stuff. And there've been many times with the latter that they ask $$$ for access to find out something that would be found by Google if it was OSS.

Re:Beautiful... (4, Interesting)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183068)

While I agree with you on principle, Oracle documentation is second to none and that's better than having to post to some mailing list and then having to send configs along with version dependencies. I would so there are lots of pros and cons of both sides of this. Google is not a great way to get documentation on something specific. Just yesterday I was searching for the cause to one-way communication between an Asterisk 1.4 and an Asterisk 1.6 box that had been upgraded from 1.4 and was using the same config. It took a very long time. Contrast that with virtually any Oracle issue which can be resolved within ten minutes on Metalink or if things really get hairy, within two hours via a support request.

Often times you do get what you pay for even if you have to pay too much to get it. I'll agree most of that should be free and in the interest of adoption of product lines that would actually probably be a smart move from a business standpoint. I look at all the people running away from Sun servers because everything is hidden away now by Oracle so its easy to see that hiding the documentation just makes people look for something more open.

Oracle is in serious trouble these days despite their spending spree, they lack focus and it shows in their product line. I think most people would agree that you only use Oracle for the database, all of their other apps are simply a joke with open source alternatives being very attractive for reporting and collaboration. ERP options still appear to be lacking but the concept as a whole seems to going away anyway. That's probably why Oracle wanted Sun, to have a complete platform for their database completely supported from head to toe the way Apple does it.

Re:Beautiful... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183520)

I don't have any experience with Oracle support.

Can you give an example of an Oracle issue that you solved with Metalink in 10 minutes, that a similar scale problem with Postgresql wouldn't be solved with a Google search? Or for the hairy things, wouldn't be solved by an email to the postgresql mailing list? The postgresql developers seem very responsive to me (assuming your email is reasonable and descriptive - and even so I've seen useful replies to pretty crappy emails :) ).

That said, from the Vendor's perspective, artificial scarcity is a good thing for them. Tons of companies are still willing to pay to access stuff that the vendor intentionally keeps from them. Customers even think it's a feature :). So unless it starts hurting the vendors, it's a viable business strategy. Good also are training and certification schemes - which can be more expensive when technical info about your product is so restricted.

Re:Beautiful... (2, Insightful)

PraiseBob (1923958) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181412)

I'm guessing you fit into their corporate culture pretty well...

Re:Beautiful... (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181660)

I strongly suspect you have left yourself crippled. Anyone who claims to be a long-time anything has failed to move forwards, has failed to adapt to the changing IT market. Nothing lasts forever and those who fail to keep up-to-date last no longer than the product they are fixed to. Oracle has moved forward. They support grid computing and clustered computing. These require a radically different mindset than those who grew up on monolithic client-server systems. Oracle will doubtless move forward again, exploiting cloud computing techniques. What use will they have for you then?

Consider this also - companies respect loyalty, but they rarely respect blind loyalty. Spying?! For chrissakes, this isn't the Cold War! Besides, why would these "spies" trust what Oracle said, when a debugger and Wireshark would yield far more? Besides, who would want to spy on Oracle? Their RAC database is impressive in that there are no other major databases that support Infiniband, but other than that their software is ancient, slow, archaic and uncompetitive. Oracle is a has-been. They were a decent company once. Twenty years ago. Today, they're losing ground. Their acquisition of Sun was expensive and has generated few returns.

As for a lot of information, Oracle doesn't know the meaning of the phrase. Their support site is frankly pathetic. Ingres is of the same era and used to hold many of the same attitudes, but they have matured and adapted to a new environment. Oracle have not. In evolution, those who adapt survive, those who do not die. Size is immaterial. Prime were big. Cray were big. SGI were big. Sun were big. Dinosaurs. And dinosaurs die.

Re:Beautiful... (2, Informative)

butlerm (3112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182354)

Their RAC database is impressive in that there are no other major databases that support Infiniband, but other than that their software is ancient, slow, archaic and uncompetitive.

You don't seem to be particularly familiar with the merits of the Oracle database server, which is still at least a decade ahead of all of its competitors. I like PostgreSQL, but in most respects it is just starting to achieve the level of flexibility that Oracle had with the release of Oracle 7 some seventeen years ago.

The special thing about RAC is not Infiniband, it is that RAC is one of the only symmetric multi-node relational databases available. The IBM equivalent was until recently only available on mainframes. I am not aware if there are any others.

If that were not the case, given the cost, there would be no new major applications designed around Oracle at all. Or DB2 for that matter.

Re:Beautiful... (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182700)

I like PostgreSQL, but in most respects it is just starting to achieve the level of flexibility that Oracle had with the release of Oracle 7 some seventeen years ago.

Can you elaborate? I have never really found a good explanation of how well PostgreSQL compares to the high end proprietary RDBMSs, or even of how well they compare to each other.

Re:Beautiful... (4, Funny)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182276)

As I've seen elsewhere on /. :

Move over Darth Gates, it's time for Darth Ellison
ORACLE = One Rich Asshole Called Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison's character (3, Insightful)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181088)

I've known a few people like that, very combative types. They tend to wind up being very lonely and pathetic later in life.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181158)

Ellison is a narcissist, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc. Those types usually never are introspective enough to realize what miserable people they are, and they're surrounded by enough sycophants that it seems on the surface that they aren't lonely.

See this book (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181322)

The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh [amazon.com] . Anyway, Hanh talks about a billionaire (no name given) that came to Plumb Village and how he has a body guard because he's always afraid of being attacked or kidnapped, thinks everyone who's nice to him just wants to know him for his money, he has to work constantly and little time for loved ones, he has a huge amount of pressure, and there's some other things that I don't remember. You start thinking twice about being a billionaire and I didn't get the impression that this guy was a narcissist - I'm not saying that the folks you mentioned are not, but all billionaires are not and I think many would prefer to be anonymous if they could. I know I would but it's impossible with that much money. There was a billionaire by the name of Danial K. Ludwig (shipping) that was a recluse but folks knew who he was.

Ellison? I don't know him and never met him. But it has been published that he's a womanizer, likes his jet fighters, race cars, yachts, etc... which seems to support your premise.

Re:See this book (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181438)

If you liked "The Art of War" then you'll love "What's the Difference betwee God and Larry Ellison" by Michael Lewis. The answer, of course, is obvious: God knows he's not Larry Ellison.

Re:See this book (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181718)

Ellison has been known to keep a copy of a certain biography of Genghis Khan [wikipedia.org] on or near the desk in his office. It is also said that he is an admirer of the Sun Tzu [wikipedia.org] and the Art of War [wikipedia.org] .

Re:See this book (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182032)

So do a million geeks let alone people with a military background that can actually visualise what it means. It's effectively Machiavelli for Americans.

Re:See this book (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182386)

The Prince was brilliant.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182076)

Loneliness is being surrounded by psychophants.

With enough corporate income, one is fairly doomed to sycophant overload.

--

I for one welcome our new sycophant overlords.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (1)

FilthCatcher (531259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182340)

surrounded by psychopants?!?!
disturbing and terrifying maybe but not lonely.
Or maybe that just the sicophant in me... ;-)

Re:Larry Ellison's character (3, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182172)

You are just jealous. All three people you mentioned created multi-billion companies out of nothing, employed hundreds of thousands of people, paid billions in taxes. They have each had more influence on your life than just about anybody else except perhaps your parents. Maybe you are right about the narcissism but it takes obsessive, driven types to do what they did even if they might not be the nicest people to hang out with.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182326)

No, I'm not. I don't want their money. I don't want their power. I don't want their problems. I certainly don't want their personalities. I think it's very sad to characterize success by money. And I'd rather be a person who my friends would like to hang out with rather than someone who created a business entity that brings in a lot of pieces of green paper. As for your statement that they have had "more influence" on my life than just about anybody else that's just absurd.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182342)

The subtext of your post there is that they should be worshipped and revered as a result. Despite behaving like sociopaths, despite (in the case of MS) anti-competitive, harmful actions, despite wasting a hell of a lot of taxpayer cash in the courtroom, despite being involved in the dirty and broken aspects of western democracy....

Yeah, I'd love to have all that money, but it's true that I don't have the instinct to fuck everyone else over to get there. I don't think that's a personality type that the rest of us should aspire to, let alone worship.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (1)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182680)

Do you know what sycophant means? It's just funny that parent post specifically mentions that as being one of the downsides of being wealthy, then you immediately play to type.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34183170)

You are just jealous. All three people you mentioned created multi-billion companies out of nothing, employed hundreds of thousands of people, paid billions in taxes. They have each had more influence on your life than just about anybody else except perhaps your parents. Maybe you are right about the narcissism but it takes obsessive, driven types to do what they did even if they might not be the nicest people to hang out with.

My guess by reading this is that you're no more than 25-years-old. And yes that is relevant to conversation, lest someone, say 15-years-old, who's still wrestling with trying to decide what is and isn't important in life, whiffs your turd of a thought and decidedly she smells the sweet scent of wisdom. There is no wisdom in narcissism and obsession. It is a lonely trip to the bottom. No one has you covered. And you drown in a sea of your own shit.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34182480)

Ellison is a narcissist, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc.

You seem to have information that very few are privy to- You must know these men well. Tell us more.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (3, Interesting)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182706)

I've actually talked to the man on a few occasions - right time and right place for a 5'th level peasant in my case. The bit that most of this thread seems to miss is this guy *really* understands the technical details as well as the business end. If you ask why, he can and does answer. He will also make a decision - unlike many management of (former, now acquired) companies and even change course when something does not pan out. His play style, in the business world, reminds me of the Adaptive AI in SupCom:FA.

Honestly, he seemed human.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (2, Interesting)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182852)

What does it mean to be miserable without even realizing it? Is that even possible? Insufferable perhaps, but how can there be misery without awareness?

Re:Larry Ellison's character (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34183056)

Ellison is a narcissist, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc. Those types usually never are introspective enough to realize what miserable people they are, and they're surrounded by enough sycophants that it seems on the surface that they aren't lonely.

The best part is neither of these two fuckwads (that is, Jobs and Ellison) have any chance of becoming as wealthy as Gates was at the top of his game. And I doubt these stooges will match or exceed him in their combined philanthropy either. Gates is likely to remain (for the foreseeable future) the king of machiavellian business tactics with a twist of basic humility.

What would he do if not philanthropy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34183522)

It seems to me that Gates gives money because, if he didn't, he and his wife would be bored. I've never seen anything that would indicate kindness or warmth or friendliness in Bill Gates.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183570)

People are what they are and do what they do. It's almost like complaining about the weather: it happens because that's what the sky does. Still, it would be a great pleasure to slug Ellison...or better yet, bring him down with PostgreSql.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (3, Insightful)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181170)

Yes, and they try and fill it up with Japanese Zen gardens and big yachts. No amount of money can make you happy, it takes an ability to work with others and a comfort in one's abilities and successes, however small. Larry is like a really loud and obnoxious Richard "Beardy" Branson, only without any charisma, or charm, or wit, or courage, or sense of adventure, or fair play. Yes, nothing at all like Beardy Branson. Larry is just a really amazing, rich, successful, single-minded, asshole. :) And that's being kind. Solaris has paid my way thus far, and now I go on without Oracle. I'm much better off for it. It's motivate me to learn real computer languages like Perl and C. Glad I skipped Java, as that looks and sounds and smells like a big chunk of Oracle shit to me now. Being closed has many disadvantages. Not the least of which is their lack of goodwill. This will bite them in the ass in good time. Meanwhile... Linux, Perl, VMware awaits. But, if you have the $$ and the Oracle wares at your shop, I'll be glad to work them for you for a much heftier price... yes, suddenly working in an Oracle shop just got way fucking expensive... for them. Oracle, just pay my way and then get the fuck out of my way. I've got no time for lucky CEOs and their wacky horseshit behaviour.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181216)

If they survive.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181264)

Agreed. We need fewer of these people on the planet. I can't tell if this is legal game playing or if this is just someone's interpretation of the events. But one thing for sure, this isn't "business." And Oracle is turning into quite a monster. I am sad to say that we will soon have their product in my IT shop soon. After seeing much of this going on, I would rather see MS SQL server installed.

Re:Larry Ellison's character (1)

Torvac (691504) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183610)

shotgun to the face can cure this. strange but this type of human really often cures themselfes with a shotgun. the financial crisis showed it, instead of facing consequences use the suicide shortcut.

Avoid Oracle (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181100)

Oracle seems to be an EXTREMELY abusive company.

Let's route around it. One way: Use PostgreSQL.

Some billionaires only care about being able to abuse people.

Re:Avoid Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181210)

Oracle seems to be an EXTREMELY abusive company.

I remember when I was working in IT (years and years ago) Oracle set its pricing based on what they thought the company would pay, which if true shows you what kind of corporate culture you're dealing with.

Re:Avoid Oracle (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181308)

In capitalism, supplier set prices based on what they think buyers will pay. If you don't like Oracle, you probably don't like America and capitalism either.

Re:Avoid Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181564)

I hate all those things to some degree, but I hate overcooked asparagus more.

Re:Avoid Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34182894)

I hate the way it makes my pee smell.

Re:Avoid Oracle (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181758)

There is commerce and there is abusive commerce. Eventually those who engage in abusive commerce are replaced. Before the abusive companies are replaced, it is miserable to work there.

Not at all (1)

xdor (1218206) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182024)

America and capitalism are providing you choices: buy something or from someone else.

Re:Avoid Oracle (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182220)

guess what.. that's normal capitalist behavior. Companies actually have a DUTY to do that.

Many databases in the pond (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181690)

I would recommend Ingres (which is GPL) for the Data Warehouse environments, PostgreSQL for the mid-sized relational databases and Drizzle for the small-scale systems. (DO NOT support MySql as it is now an Oracle product -- support one of the official forks.)

Likewise, I would recommend using Libre Office (as soon as it hits a major release) over and above Oracle's OpenOffice.

For Java, I would recommend using IBM's JVM where possible (it's largely Oracle's but getting it from IBM will still kick dirt in Oracle's eyes). Where you're running a standalone Java application that can be compiled using GCJ, eliminate the JVM entirely and go native.

Sybase (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181138)

I have no clue if this is important in this discussion, but SAP acquired Sybase [sybase.com] earlier this year.

Re:Sybase (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181784)

Oh, it quite likely is. Oracle doesn't like competition, and for SAP to have a database they can now tune to their products --- that's not something that will sit at all well with Oracle.

The real question (2, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181152)

Will Ellison's douchemonkeyness detriment the people? The community? If his fights are just and his gains are pure and the losses he causes others to incur do not get passed onto the populace, cool. Otherwise, I don't think they're going to have too many friends after the dust settles.

HP - Largest Technology company? (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181154)

By what measure?

Sounds wrong to me and I cant find a measure by which they would be the largest, but maybe there is one.

Re:HP - Largest Technology company? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181250)

Only one I see is Fortune 500 rank, which is probably the sketchiest measure of all. Largely, how much revenue they recently moved without regard for customer base or profits.

If going by $ profit, they trail companies including IBM.
If going by profit margin, obviously by above they lose to everyone they lose to above.
If going by market cap, they lose to IBM and Apple at least.

Apple or IBM depending on your opinion probably fairly could claim it.

I don't know about employee count, reliable public numbers are more than one google away for the biggest companies and I'm too lazy to do more than that.

Re:HP - Largest Technology company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34183490)

IBM hands down.

Re:HP - Largest Technology company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181266)

By what measure?

Sounds wrong to me and I cant find a measure by which they would be the largest, but maybe there is one.

HP's certainly near, if not at, the top if one were to consider *everything*.

Somehow I doubt Oracle's terribly interested in desktops and consumer grade printers though. Servers, maybe, but given the bushwacking Oracle's done to Sun, it doesn't seem to be their prime interest, either. As for the rest - IBM's a much larger, nicer target. But then, IBM's got Nazgul, whereas HP's only form of evil was potential Senator from California Smeagol, who they happily canned ages ago.

Ah, that's it. Ellison needs to find a new opponent to continue his douchebaggery, but he's quickly running out of targets that would provide a fight stacked in Oracle's favor. :p

Larry, what is best in life? (0, Redundant)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181186)

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!

Alternate bests from Genghis Cohen (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181918)

Hot water, good dentistry, and soft lavatory paper.

HP's biggest mistake (1)

u19925 (613350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181198)

Firing Hurd was one thing, but hiring Apothekar was a total disastrous. In connection to this, Jack Welsh mentioned that he wouldn't admit knowing anyone in HP board even if knew anyone. These are rather strong words coming from a neutral person who was declared manager of the century in 1999. HP was fully aware of SAP-Oracle lawsuit going on and also of the fact that SAP had accepted the blame and Apothekar was the CEO at the time TomorrowNow was stealing. HP got what it deserved or wanted.

What are you talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181224)

You have some serious problems with names. Their names are Léo Apotheker and Jack Welch.

Re:HP's biggest mistake (3, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181814)

I dunno. Think about this. If HP's CEO "happens" to end up in a country with no corporate tax, the company can move its "official" HQ there. Instant tax haven - and one that any revision of tax laws couldn't do much about because it would involve the CEO and not just some unused office with only a janitor in it.

Re:HP's biggest mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34182072)

declared manager of the century in 1999.

Was that before or after he was cheating on his wife? (I know, that doesn't matter. I threw it out because people are very complicated, and these sorts of awards are facile and simplistic.)

Re:HP's biggest mistake (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34182388)

If Jack Welch had stayed at GE another few years, it would have imploded. GE is only now recovering from his hollowing out of the company. His arrogance in the Honeywell debacle finally did him in, thank goodness. Now if only they can stop their lame-o ads, they might stand a chance.

If you are a Welch fan, feel free to keep kissing his sorry ass.

Re:HP's biggest mistake (2, Insightful)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182946)

Yea, I know! The saddest part of it, however, is that even if current MBA courses have stopped teaching the flawed theories used by Jack Welch (like cutting costs), there are still many MBAs from that age who still believe in them. Board of directors needs to stop giving them jobs as CEOs. Finance would I think be a better job for them.

Re:HP's biggest mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34183240)

How is cost cutting a flawed theory?

Re:HP's biggest mistake (5, Informative)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183566)

This isn't my area, but perennial cost cutting was the problem. After a solid start reducing fat and focusing on core missions, old Jack ended up going off the rails simply because the money kept rolling.

His philosophy shared a great deal in common with the a very unpopular practice in modern governance known as a strategy of tensions.

He wanted to keep up to 10% of the talent force on steady march out the door regardless of their performance and regardless of how well things were going. This cost cutting measure depends upon the other 90% not leaping to the conclusion that an arbitrary management will eventually come for them as well... And hoping that they instead believe there was something inferior about the 10%; hoping that they will strive to validate the faith of retention that their fearless leader has placed in them. Not a good situation.

Then there was the idea to cut all involvement in any endeavor where the company was not challenging for the crown of industry leader. This of course removes innovation and cross-pollination leaving the remaining servants absent vision and experience coming from outside their own little box.

Wikipedia claims he was known as Neutron Jack. I think that may be taking it a little too far, but you get the point.

slashdot unbiased? (1)

kwoff (516741) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181212)

What database does slashdot run on, by the way?

[OT, sorry.] On doofus web surfers. (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181536)

On /., asking how to find info (http://slashdot.org/help) on a website; "Brillant" [sic]. Their current user docs list mysql, but it's dated 2000.

Oh, and while I'm at it, that jerk who posted a complete ripoff of a BOFH http://www.theregister.co.uk/ [theregister.co.uk] article on with no attribution ought to be strung up by his earbeads (in comments on "Toy Robots Can Guard Your Home"; I was moderating so couldn't complain inthread).

Sigh, fsck. Carry on you shallow posters.

Re:[OT, sorry.] On doofus web surfers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34182004)

Actually asshole, it was only part of the BOFH article. I would have thought most people who came here would know where it came from. You obviously did. So go fuck yourself.

Re:[OT, sorry.] On doofus web surfers. (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182100)

Actually asshole, it was only part of the BOFH article.

Ah, an excellent riposte, sir. So, you only ripped them off for half of their article, and couldn't be bothered to educate the unwashed masses as to where you stole it from. I stand corrected.

I'm saying you're just freaking lazy, and ought to do better in the future. You're not damned for all time. Just get it right. Constructive criticsm?

Nice work with the A-word there. I think you've got that down.

Idiot.

Re:slashdot unbiased? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181580)

Microsoft SQL Server?

What is it with technology companies? (3, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181260)

These companies are situated in the center of one of the largest changes in human history. Computers and software applications have enabled numerous advances in civilization and benefitted society in countless ways. Despite all the good that has come from computers, it seems like without exception, every single large computer company is lead by a bunch of douche bags who apparently have little concern for anything beyond themselves and their vision of how they want things to be.

Re:What is it with technology companies? (3, Funny)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181366)

Yeah, because software that is designed by an unfocused group people with no direction is sooooooo useful.

Re:What is it with technology companies? (4, Insightful)

PraiseBob (1923958) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181382)

every single large is lead by a bunch of douche bags

Do you think the Roman empire grew to its size by being nice? Every group in history that gains considerable power is led by power-hungry people. Luckily for our species, most people are content with being in love, raising a family, and enjoying life with friends and loved ones.

A few individuals are cursed with a "vision", and have an overwhelming desire to force other people to play along. I'd wager they are extremely dissatisfied with life, despite their massive wealth and power.

Re:What is it with technology companies? (2, Interesting)

Trintech (1137007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183152)

Do you think the Roman empire grew to its size by being nice?

No, I wouldn't say they were necessarily nice but one of the major reasons the Romans succeeded in creating such a vast empire was because they absorbed the culture of the people that they were conquering. This made the transition easier and made revolt far less likely because, in general, people don't care what ruler they are paying tribute (taxes) to; they only care if the amount goes up or it changes how they live their lives.

I think Oracle et al. could learn a lot from the Roman approach.

en.swpat.org (4, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181270)

Rustling up a quick summary here for anyone looking for background:

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Oracle_v._SAP_(2010,_USA) [swpat.org]

Re:en.swpat.org (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182904)

Well, this seems to be about copyright, not patent infringement. I have edited the wiki.

Peoplesoft (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181274)

Why would anyone want Peoplesoft?

Re:Peoplesoft (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181712)

They were a competitor, an obstacle to be removed. That's why.

Re:Peoplesoft (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181748)

Easy. If Oracle owns all the names that the Pointy-Hair Bosses know about, Oracle rules the people with the money. Those who actually use the product? They have no say. Neither do any of the technical folk. So why would Oracle care about them?

However, it is a dangerous game to play. IBM tried the same trick in the 1970s and 80s. It nearly destroyed them when the playing-field shifted away from mainframes. It did destroy companies like Prime. Acorn tried the same stunt in the microcomputer field. They lasted a bit longer than the giants, but they're now only producing televisions, their PC division abandoned in the dirt.

Oracle will, eventually, fall the same way if they rely on destroying competition and propping up their brand name with buy-outs. The question is how much damage they will inflict on the markets in the meantime.

Re:Peoplesoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34182022)

Why would anyone want Peoplesoft?

For their customer base.
Oracle and Peoplesoft combined with Sun hardware is a natural in the ERP area.
Add in their other aquisitions and they cover a huge chunk of enterprise requirements.

No arguing with other vendors. Oracle can supply everything needed and solve problems between products internally.
That's good business.

What is this costing the taxpayer? (2, Informative)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181296)

"SAP has offered to pay $40 million for the damage it caused and an additional $120 million to cover Oracle's legal bill."

But who pays the salary of the judge and other court personnel? The courthouse building isn't free and neither are its utilities. This can't be cheap.

Re:What is this costing the taxpayer? (2, Informative)

iammani (1392285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182142)

Duh, they (both parties) of course paid court fees.

Re:What is this costing the taxpayer? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34182996)

Court filing fees in the US are generally a few tens to hundreds of dollars per case; fees for copies of documents are perhaps 50 cents per page at the most; and fees for transcripts, which can be more than a dollar per page often (or perhaps generally) don't go to the court but to an independent company. They may deter some completely silly lawsuits, but do not defray the cost of having court personnel process documents for, hear, deliberate about, and write about a complicated case. (Of course, the litigants themselves often pay significant taxes over the years which properly cover, among other things, having courts available to address legal problems that may arise.)

Knitting (2, Insightful)

CaroKann (795685) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181888)

All HP has to do is focus on their knitting. Make great products and take great care of your customers. You don't need lots of sound-and-fury drama to be a great company

I'm becoming more and more convinced (5, Insightful)

twoears (1514043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181950)

Larry Ellison is becoming more of a software terrorist every day.

Oracle is what Oracle has always been (4, Insightful)

Chitlenz (184283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181960)

I was a DBA forever, and while I loved the 10 or so years I spent supporting Oracle I noted that consultants (for what its worth) seemed to uniformly hate the place (a note, I supported Peoplesoft Installations for awhile and we saw a lot of consultants come through from Oracle among other places..).

It's really a shame, but when 9 came out and Oracle co-opted java for the first time, they screwed it up and it hasn't really gotten any better since. I think a big reason for this is that the office culture of the place is a reflection of Ellison's arrogance, which is somewhat demotivating (even if only privately) to the people who work there, and their products suffer. So here we are with Oracle now owning java and, surprise surprise, Ellison is out to monetize it. Folks, that's what he does. There's a reason he's one of the richest men alive, he finds choke points in the software market and either buys or kills (and replaces) them.

He reminds me of the Wall Street people who see no moral issues with destroying everything in their path to turn a profit. It's sick, it's wrong, and this is America where for better or worse its legal. Ultimately, these super-arrogant folks will be the death of software as an industry because they simply have no concept of 'enough'. One guy told us (unconfirmed personally, but I have no reason to doubt it) that at Oracle, if you weren't in a position to replace your boss after the first year, your career there was basically over. Ellison calls this 'samurai management' or some such nonsense, but I call it bad business. It's this kind of crap that leads to workplace incivility, and this grudge-holding shit Emperor Larry is famous for is plain old simple hubris. It's ok though, he's getting too old to do it for much longer, and Oracle is rapidly becoming a product worth 1k$ instead of 100k$ per installation. Not that he'll ever be poor, but boy wouldn't it be fun to watch him be humbled.

Re:Oracle is what Oracle has always been (2, Insightful)

hardboiled.tequila (986536) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182268)

One guy told us (unconfirmed personally, but I have no reason to doubt it) that at Oracle, if you weren't in a position to replace your boss after the first year, your career there was basically over. Ellison calls this 'samurai management' or some such nonsense, but I call it bad business.

I'd call it "Sith Management".

Re:Oracle is what Oracle has always been (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182438)

So here we are with Oracle now owning java and, surprise surprise, Ellison is out to monetize it.

Jrockit has existed for years, since they acquired BEA.

Re:Oracle is what Oracle has always been (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34182630)

One guy told us (unconfirmed personally, but I have no reason to doubt it) that at Oracle, if you weren't in a position to replace your boss after the first year, your career there was basically over. Ellison calls this 'samurai management' or some such nonsense, but I call it bad business.

Posting as AC since I don't want my workplace and id to be linked.
The above statement is rubbish. I work at Oracle, and its not always great - but its not too bad either. There is a lot of pressure, but you just need to know how to handle it, or push it back if necessary. Nothing any other workplace won't expose employees to.

Re:Oracle is what Oracle has always been (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34182802)

Are the rumors true that developers at Oracle have to use some sort of hosted development environment running in a remote datacenter with awful latencies, along with an arcane revison control system?

Re:Oracle is what Oracle has always been (3, Interesting)

Chitlenz (184283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183126)

There is a lot of pressure, but you just need to know how to handle it, or push it back if necessary

You are welcome to defend your employer, and at Oracle I don't blame you for using AC to do it, but this is not exactly an observation I came up with out of the blue sky...

I'll just leave this here for you bud.

http://news.cnet.com/The-pitch-Inside-the-pressure-cooker/2009-1017_3-897414.html [cnet.com]

Please understand, I think Oracle is a great product at its core. It almost literally runs the world at this point, I just question from both public articles (such as linked) and personal experience (15 years as a DBA, architect, developer, and now Development Officer) Oracle's tactics. Even if they were the greatest employer EVER, it still wouldn't excuse they way they treat their customers. They routinely overcharge for services and pad consulting gigs.

I've been deposed by Oracle in court before (as part of a PS lawsuit), and watching them treat their customers like dogs speaks volumes. I refuse to believe anyone with the kind of sleazy ethics I watched performed (on more than one occasion I might add) can somehow magically be paradigms of humanity internally. On one particularly memorable occasion, I watched Peoplesoft almost destroy a company by trying to implement a beta version of a SQL Server based product(before Oracle bought them), and then got to watch Oracle (via the courts, after the PS buyout) trying to defend Microsoft as a perfectly viable platform. These weren't lawyers,by the way. When it's 25M$ or so of trainwreck, you get real life VP's to show up and lie.

Not a winning strategy (1)

scurvyj (1158787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181968)

Lets face it, Java is dead (it is, really), and Postgres is not only faster than MySQL but safer with very large datasets.

Also, this is not a gearing up for further war. On the contrary, this will damage Oracle. They will spend a huge amount of money, and the other players will have very little trouble stringing them along forever in the courts, BHP/Microsoft style. It will also exhaust key players inside the company that will get jack of the giant amount of stress this is doubtless causing internally. And as an aside: it will piss off lots of developers.
All HP has to do is bide its time, build its resources, and then strike a weakened Oracle like Michael Ironside dispatching Louis Del Grande in Scanners.

Kaboom (Splat).

Re:Not a winning strategy (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182124)

I really need to run a new version of postgresql to figure out if you are jerking my chain or not. I ran postgres databases for years in production and they always sucked. Twice or three times the babysitting of any mysql database. I remember all to well having to take them offline once a week to run vacuum on them to keep them from falling over. Great database with great capability but the maintenance was painful.

Re:Not a winning strategy (1)

mr_bubb (1171001) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182236)

Completely disagree. We run very large pg databases and the maintenance is minimal. Mysql is such an inferior product. As for Java, I don't care about the language per se, but there's a lot of good things written for the JVM that I would hate to see disappear. Can't IBM just put their balls to the wall and take over development of OpenJDK? They produced a great JIT long before Sun got around to it; they have the capability...

Or... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182014)

Ellison demonstrated the love of combat and confrontation ...

... Larry could just be a dick.

Maybe they really just want better parking? (1)

MichaelJ (140077) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182050)

I find this lawsuit particulary funny simply because their offices in Burlington, MA, are next to each other on the same street, Van De Graaff Drive, which is basically just the driveway for those buildings. You easily hit a golfball from one to the other. I wonder if they make dirty faces at each other? (Sun's up a different road, at least a half-dozen par 5's away.)

I wish Larry the best, but (1)

mr_bubb (1171001) | more than 3 years ago | (#34182182)

Couldn't he somehow get marooned on a desert island for five years, a la "Castaway"? And then when he came back, he wouldn't be such a prick? Maybe?

Pretty Simple (1)

lotho brandybuck (720697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183078)

Ellison is an asshole, and Apothecker/HP are sissies.

What I really don't understand is if you're running a a database company, do you really want to trumpet how lousy your internal security is in federal court?

"Merucry ": Taco typo (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183130)

"Chris O'Brien writes in the Merucry News"...

I see Taco is keeping his usual high editorial standards.

After all these years he still can't spellcheck? Christ, in my browser it's underlined in red.

Oracle was not a gift (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183206)

And nobody gave it to Mr. Ellison. He did what he felt he had to do and still does. I doubt if any other way would have yielded better results.

356 days to Halloween---Silver Shamrock (1)

Mana Mana (16072) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183288)

Shiz! What a write up. I'm quivering in my jump boots. Too bad Halloween already passed. Michael Myers [wikipedia.org] versus Lawrence Ellison, a blockbuster in the making.

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