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Archive for the ‘High Tech Lawsuits’ Category

“Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.”

– Nikola Tesla

Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla have a lot in common with Apple, Google, HTC, and Motorola & Research in Motion.

They were/are all warriors in the ongoing war to see who can amass the largest number of the most lucrative technology patents. Edison and Tesla waged their battle from the late 1860s through the 1920s and the stakes were just as high then as they are now.

Nary has a week gone by without mention of the latest contretemps among the high tech industry titans. There’s been no cessation of hostilities during the holiday season. If anything, top tier companies have become even more aggressive about solidifying and extending their dominance in and out of their core competencies as 2010 comes to a close.

Memo to Larry Ellison: The Roman Coliseum halted gladiator combats around 435 A.D. SAP has thrown in the towel and has no interest in continuing a court battle. Hewlett-Packard executives are refusing to accept service on your lawsuits and HP’s newly named chief executive Leo Apotheker is laying low, presumably dodging your increasingly vituperative verbal assaults. You’ve got no takers for the bloody, bare knuckles brawl you crave. What does that tell you?

It should signal an end to the Circus Maximus sideshow but it won’t.

No one desires this much attention or sticks their chin out spoiling for a fight like Ellison. And in an industry like high tech that’s overflowing with giant egos, that’s saying something. It’s true that Ellison’s antics always make for reams and reams of good copy. Reporters calling for comments on the latest developments don’t even bother to suppress their mirth. Enough is enough, though. The Larry Ellison Show would be more amusing if corporate customers weren’t getting caught in the crossfire.

“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.”

– African proverb

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Oracle Corp.’s decision to settle the lawsuit over Oracle’s hiring of Mark Hurd as co-President after weeks of public wrangling is welcome news to everyone but the corporate attorneys.

But don’t expect the two vendors to just pick up and resume their former close partnership. It got very ugly, very fast. And the reverberations from Hurd’s hiring to HP’s recent appointment of Leo Apotheker, as the new CEO effective November 1, will be felt for a long time. HP’s decision to hire the German-born Apotheker, who is also the former CEO of SAP, is to put it politely a big “take that, Oracle!” Forget the surface smiles, behind the scenes Oracle and HP have their ears pinned back, teeth bared and swords sharpened as they gird for battle.

This was not the typical cross-competitive carping that vendors routinely spew to denigrate their rivals’ products and strategies. The issues between HP and Oracle are very personal and very deep. The verbal volleys Oracle CEO Larry Ellison lobbed at HP in recent weeks exposed the changing nature of this decades old alliance. It is morphing from a close, mutually beneficial collaboration to a head-on collision in several key product areas. Ellison’s words did more than just wound HP: they also opened up deep fissures in the relationship which are as big as the San Andreas Fault.