Ellison To HP: Change Your Tagline From 'Invent' To 'Steal'

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Wednesday issued yet another blistering attack on HP Chairman Ray Lane, HP CEO Leo Apotheker and the HP board of directors with a call to change the HP tagline from "Invent" to "Steal."

The attack was the second from Ellison in as many days centered on the penalty phase of a trial next week regarding the theft of software from Oracle that covered at least some of the period when Apotheker was CEO of SAP.

"HP Chairman Ray Lane has taken the position that (HP CEO) Leo Apotheker is innocent of wrongdoing because he didn't know anything about the stealing going on at SAP while Leo was CEO," said Ellison in his latest statement. "The most basic facts of the case show this to be an absurd lie. Oracle sued SAP for stealing in March of 2007. Leo became CEO of SAP in April of 2008. Leo knew all about the stealing. In fact, Leo did not stop the stealing until 7 months after he became CEO. Why so long? We'd like to know. Ray Lane and the rest of the HP Board do not want anyone to know. That's the new HP Way with Ray in charge and Leo on the run. It's time to change the HP tagline from 'Invent' to 'Steal'."

One top HP partner, who did not want to be identified, said the Oracle attack couldn't come at a worse time for HP given the uncertainty in the sales channel with the arrival of Apotheker.

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Many HP partners have questioned whether Apotheker will develop the same kind of tight channel relationships as former HP CEO Mark Hurd, who joined Oracle as Co-President last month. This after the highly regarded Hurd was pushed out of HP for filing inaccurate expense reports and violating HP's code of conduct.

NEXT: Hurd Is Already Working To Bring HP Partners To Oracle

Hurd is already working in the sales trenches to bring HP partners into the Oracle fold, said HP partners. "Revenge is very high motivation," said one partner.

HP partners said it is critical that Apotheker move to quickly establish strong ties with channel partners. "It is absolutely critical that in the middle of all of this he gets out to meet with channel partners," said one HP partner. "If he doesn't act decisively he is going to lose the cooperation of a part of the channel."

The latest Ellison attack comes with Oracle threatening to drag Apotheker into court next week. Responding to comments from Lane claiming that Oracle has never offered any evidence that Apotheker was involved in the theft of stolen Oracle material, Ellison said Oracle will provide that evidence next week.

"A few weeks ago I accused HP's new CEO, Leo Apotheker, of overseeing an industrial espionage scheme centering on the repeated theft of massive amounts of Oracle's software" Ellison's statement read. "A major portion of this theft occurred while Mr. Apotheker was CEO of SAP. HP's Chairman, Ray Lane, immediately came to Mr. Apotheker's defense by writing a letter stating, 'Oracle has been litigating this case for years and has never offered any evidence that Mr. Apotheker was involved.' Well, that's what we are planning to do during the trial that starts next Monday."

Ellison said the only way that Apotheker will not be supboenead to testify in the trial is if the new HP CEO does not show up at HP's Palo Alto, Calif. headquarters. Both Apotheker and Lane officially start their new jobs at HP on Monday.

"If HP keeps Leo Apotheker far from HP headquarters we cannot subpoena him to testify at that trial," Ellison said. "I don't think Ray Lane wants to risk Leo Apotheker testifying under oath as to why he allowed the theft of Oracle property to continue for 8 months after he was made sole CEO of SAP. I hope I'm wrong, but my guess is that HP's new Chairman, Mr. Lane, will keep HP's new CEO, Mr. Apotheker, far, far away from the Courthouse until this trial is over."