Oracle has something to be thankful about…to the tune of $1.3b

Yes that is $1.3 BILLION that the German software maker will have to pay to Oracle in damages for a scheme to steal customer support and software from Oracle so that SAP could lull those customers over to their solutions. Ouch. SAP’s after tax profit last year was $2billion…wow. This will have some serious repercussions in the software and business world. I would not be surprised if you will hear of more law suits against SAP – similar to the one filed and won by i2 Technologies a few years back.

These law suits are too common in the software world, however they have always been difficult to prove and even more difficult to assess damages – how can you really place a monetary figure on supposed lost sales or clients? And how can you really prove a line of code was stolen? Yet this finding marks a signal that the courts are becoming more savvy in presiding and passing judgment over these matters. The impact of the this announcement will be felt throughout the industry and business:

  • SAP will be seriously hamstrung to go out and acquire other players in the space to bolster their business. The major dent in their cash as well as market value could make them an enticing acquisition target themselves – Microsoft anyone?
  • Oracle will be bolstered by this and they might go out and look for new targets to acquire. Not that they were in need of cash, but getting a nice check for $1.3 billion can make shopping during the holiday season much easier! Could they go out and target a firm like JDA – small fish I realize. Or maybe one of the system integrators out of India…What about Infor?
  • New lawsuits, couple this verdict plus SAP’s willingness to pay off i2 in that lawsuit and I am sure you have every vendor that did business with SAP calling up their legal departments to determine if they can get shot at the giant. SAP’s ecosystem is far and wide so I would not be surprised to hear of many more small and large lawsuits being filed.

Part of me also wonders if SAP knew this might happen, reason why I have been seeing what appears to be a major uptick in television ads from SAP. A preemptive marketing campaign to remind us all how wonderful they are and how many of the things we enjoy “rely” on SAP software.

I am sure that Larry is going to have a very happy Thanksgiving, I wonder if this means he will purchase a new yacht to race in the America’s Cup regatta?


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