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SAP, scared of Oracle, makes goo-goo eyes at HP

The strange interpretive dance by Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and SAP has put everyone’s spidey sense in overdrive. Court proceedings on Oracle’s lawsuit vs. SAP kick off today in Oakland.

SOOOO very interesting that SAP has been gushing over Leo Apotheker’s leadership skills,  especially since SAP showed him the door last year. Both HP and SAP have defended Apotheker against Oracle’s charges that he was complicit in industrial espionage. Oracle maintains that while Apotheker was CEO of SAP, he knew about TomorrowNow’s practice of downloading Oracle information using customer accounts and let it continue for months.

Conspiracy theorists surmise that SAP, which could end up forking over big bucks to Oracle,  sees HP as a potential white knight buyer in case things really go south.  At the very least, HP could do a lot more software deals with SAP, at least according to SAP CEO Bill McDermott.’s Mark Fontecchio has a great take on this Oracle-SAP bloodfeud. Leave it to Fontecchio  to find the common thread linking Larry Ellison,  Bill Belichick and Paris Hilton!

Oracle’s already hostile relationship with SAP spilled over to HP after HP hired Apotheker as its new CEO to replace Mark Hurd (who Oracle had already hired as co-president.) That HP would hire a former SAP CEO while also hiring a former Oracle president (Ray Lane) as chairman of the board, was apparently too much for Ellison to bear. To be fair, those hirings really did reek of an HP obsession with Oracle.

The near-nightly emails to reporters from Oracle PR (but attributable to Ellison) have been hugely entertaining.  And, they make some valid points. Still Ellison’s professed outrage about SAP’s industrial espionage seems a big much given Oracle’s history of aggressive competititve intelligence.

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