SAP will not fight Oracle's spying case

The maker of expensive and esoteric management software, which no one really knows what it does, has put its hand up to spying on storage outfit Oracle.

SAP told AP it won’t fight claims that a subsidiary stole valuable data from rival Oracle and that SAP tried to use it to nick customers.

Now the row will be over how important the data nicked actually was. Oracle claims that it was worth more than a billion dollars. SAP says the impact of the data is being vastly overstated.

At the centre of the case is some customer support documents that Oracle had developed for its customers.

TomorrowNow, a SAP subsidiary that provided software support services until SAP shut the division down in 2008, downloaded millions of Oracle documents using its password. Armed with all this information, SAP could use the documents to “offer cut-rate support services to customers who use Oracle software”.

The materials include software updates, bug fixes, instructional documents, custom programs and FAQs.

SAP said it wouldn’t fight Oracle’s claims that TomorrowNow is liable for copyright infringement or for downloading conduct described in the complaint.

It said it will accept financial responsibility for any judgement awarded against TomorrowNow, “despite the fact that SAP was not involved in TomorrowNow’s service operations and did not engage in any of the copying or downloading alleged in Oracle’s complaint.”

Werner Brandt, SAP’s chief financial officer, said there was nothing new in the announcement. SAP had admitted three years ago that TomorrowNow made mistakes, and took direct action to address Oracle’s concerns. This included shutting down the outfit two years ago. SAP is committed to compensating Oracle for the harm the limited operations TomorrowNow caused, he said.

The case will go to trial on the 1st of November in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.