SAP

How profoundly will the new computing platform loosely known as “the cloud” disrupt the business software empires of companies like SAP and Oracle?

SAP went on the offensive this week, with the news that it would start running software for its customers in its own data centres. Hasso Plattner, SAP’s chairman and the man with the best claim to the title of Europe’s software visionary, called it the biggest thing from the German company since its flagship business applications software put it on the map 20 years ago.

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Richard Waters

Why would SAP’s venture capital arm be leading the latest financing round for a fast-growing online advertising platform that has now raised more than $50m?

Because it believes that display advertising is one of the first places in the business world where real-time data is about to turn a market upside down – and it won’t be the last. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • The launch of the Daily, News Corp’s news service for the iPad has been put back by a few weeks, All Things Digital reports. Apple supposedly needs extra time to tweak its new subscription service for publications sold through iTunes.
  • BGR has the details of the two latest BlackBerry smartphone handsets: the Dakota, which it claims will “sit right at the head of the BlackBerry family dinner table”, and an upgrade to its Torch model.

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In today’s FT Comment, John Gapper gives his opinion on Larry Ellison’s recent “policing” of Silicon Valley.

Gapper writes: Read more

Richard Waters

Pulses quickened in a Federal courtroom in Oakland, California on Tuesday when a lawyer for Oracle promised jurors in the Oracle v SAP trial that they would get to hear evidence from Léo Apotheker, now the boss of HP.

So does that mean Mr Apotheker has accepted the challenge thrown down last week by Larry Ellison, his counterpart at Oracle, to turn up and face the music? It sounded as though Mr Ellison’s taunt, about how the HP CEO might choose to stay “far, far away” from the courtroom, had paid off.

Alas, it turns out that a showdown is still not guaranteed. Read more

Richard Waters

Is SAP about to take the same sort of battering in the press from Oracle that has made HP’s board quail recently? Not if it can help it.

Late on Friday, SAP asked a Californian court to put a gag order on Oracle’s legal counsel ahead of the scheduled November 1 start of the trial to decide damages in the TomorrowNow case. But even if it can silence Oracle’s lawyers, SAP probably has a bigger problem on its hands: Larry Ellison, who shows no inclination to hold back in public. Read more

David Gelles

It is perhaps with good reason that Larry Ellison does not speak in public that often. Whenever he does, the famously bombastic Oracle chief executive seems certain to trash his rivals, make bold predictions about Oracle’s future, and wander off topic.

Last night at a meeting of the Churchill Club, Mr Ellison said that Sun Microsystems was losing $100m a month as European regulators scrutinise Oracle’s proposed takeover of the struggling hardware maker.

On the economy, Mr Ellison said it would be at least another five years before the US begins to recover. He said it would not be a V shaped recovery with a sharp rebound, or a W shaped recovery with a double dip, or a U shaped recovery with a pause before an uptick, but an L shaped recovery — “down and not coming back up.” Read more

Richard Waters

The US may have cleared Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, but there’s still a view among some people who have been close to this transaction that it won’t be the easy sell in Europe that Wall Street seems to assume.

According to this view, Oracle won’t get the same free pass to acquire Java that it got from the Department of Justice, but will be forced to accept some sort of undertaking to ensure that licensing of Java does not become overly restrictive. Given the central part Java has played in building a counter-weight to Microsoft in the software industry, it isn’t hard to see why European regulators might be interested. There have been rumblings that SAP has been lobbying hard with Brussels on this issue.

If so, then someone forgot to tell Hasso Plattner. The chairman of SAP’s supervisory board, and a co-founder of the company, Plattner was in Silicon Valley late this week, and I got the chance to ask him how he feels about Java passing to Oracle. Read more