On Tuesday SAP admitted that its Tomorrownow services subsidiary made some "inappropriate downloads" from an Oracle web site but contended that SAP personnel did not access the material.
SAP admitted the downloads in Tuesday's response to a March 22 lawsuit by Oracle which alleged that Tomorrownow staff hacked into an Oracle support Web site and downloaded vast amounts of content, which was used to offer Oracle customers cut-rate support services.
In an about face from his previous position, SAP CEO Henning Kagermann said in a statement that his company is open to a possible settlement with Oracle, which has charged SAP with "corporate theft on a grand scale."
In its response, SAP also said that it has appointed COO Mark White executive chairman of Tomorrownow, and pledged to enforce both existing procedures, create new policies and implement special training programmes for employees. Masney described White as a "very disciplined" executive.
David Mitchell, an analyst at London based Ovum., said SAP must work hard to avoid damaging its reputation. "It is still likely that the case will continue through the legal process and that it may still have many months to run," he stated in a research note. "Irrespective of the legal conclusion to the case, a significant part of the impact for both Oracle and SAP will be related to how each manages the public relations impact"
Oracle released an email statement on Tuesday, noting that "Kagermann has now admitted to the repeated and illegal downloading of Oracle's intellectual property. Oracle filed suit to discover the magnitude of the illegal downloads and fully understand how SAP used Oracle's intellectual property in its business. To the extent requested, Oracle will cooperate with the Department of Justice investigation of SAP announced by the company in its press release."