HP's hiring of Apotheker has largely been seen as a retort to Oracle's decision to hire former CEO of HP Mark Hurd just a few weeks after he resigned. Though HP tried to stop Hurd from taking up his new post as co-President of Oracle by suing him, the two parties eventually settled the lawsuit out of court.
However, it seems Oracle Chief Larry Ellison is a little less than impressed with the appointing of Apotheker as CEO of HP. In an email to the Wall Street Journal, Ellison said the decision had rendered him speechless.
"I’m speechless," he said, adding, "HP had several good internal candidates…but instead they pick a guy who was recently fired because he did such a bad job of running SAP."
Ellison goes on to say that though HP board members don't own much company stock, employees, customers and managers do and they will suffer as a result of this bad hire.
"None of the HP board members own much HP stock so they have little to lose," he told WSJ. "But the HP employees, customers, partners and shareholders will suffer. The HP board needs to resign en masse … right away. The madness must stop."
Though those words are damning enough, it seems Ellison was in fine, fighting form and again took the opportunity to criticize Apotheker's management skills when asked for a statement for the Financial Times. This time, Ellison referred an ongoing lawsuit (filed in 2007) that accuses SAP-owned software maintenance company TomorrowNow of pirating customers' copies of Oracle software. SAP has admitted copyright and computer violations but argues that Oracle's request for $1 billion in damages is excessive.
"SAP has already publicly confessed and accepted financial responsibility for systematically stealing Oracle’s intellectual property over a long period of time," Ellison told FT. "Much of this industrial espionage and intellectual property theft occurred while Leo was CEO of SAP," he continued. "The HP board must have been aware of these facts, yet they appointed Leo CEO of HP anyway. What happened to ‘The HP Way’?"
HP refused to comment on Ellison's remarks when asked by both the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. A HP spokesperson told WSJ Ellison's email didn't "deserve the dignity of a response."