November 8, 2010 -- Oracle CEO Larry Ellison testified in a California courtroom that he would have charged rival SAP $4 billion for copyrighted software that was improperly downloaded by a former SAP subsidiary in 2005.
Today's testimony is part of a court challenge brought by Oracle against SAP for illegal use of the software. TomorrowNow, a service provider that offered upgrades and maintenance services to Oracle customers, was acquired by Oracle in 2005.
According to wire service reports, SAP admits that the former subsidiary had wrongly downloaded software from Oracle's customer service site, but denies that executives knew of any wrongdoing at the time of the acquisition.
SAP agrees that restitution is owed to Oracle, but that the amount should be in the 10s of millions, not billions of dollars.
After Oracle bought TomorrowNow, it offered discounted maintenance to Oracle customers, including those acquired in Oracle's takeovers of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards, and encouraged them to migrate to SAP software. After Oracle filed its lawsuit, SAP closed TomorrowNow.
Reuters reported that Ellison told the jury that his company would go out of business without copyright protection and that he'd "have a hard time paying 100,000 employees" without protection of Oracle's intellectual property.
Oracle President Safra Katz was also scheduled to testify Monday.