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Commentary

Lawsuit Spotlights Loyalty As Well As Ethics

The BI industry has long been rife with companies suing one another. Most recently, Hyperion and HyperRoll squabbled about patent infringements, finally agreeing to become partners. Business Objects and MicroStrategy kept counter suing each other over a period of five years, with both parties ultimately declaring victory and neither having to pay one another. Last week, Oracle joined the cacophony by filing claim against SAP.
The BI industry has long been rife with companies suing one another. Most recently, Hyperion and HyperRoll squabbled about patent infringements, finally agreeing to become partners. Business Objects and MicroStrategy kept counter suing each other over a period of five years, with both parties ultimately declaring victory and neither having to pay one another. Last week, Oracle joined the cacophony by filing claim against SAP.What is most disturbing about this suit is that it does not involve the muddy waters of patent litigation, but rather, the clearer wrong of corporate espionage. Motivated by greed, hate or the desire to win at all costs, some individuals may cheat along the way. A few rogue individuals, however, does not make the company as a whole corrupt. And yet, multiple SAP employees in multiple locations were allegedly involved in the theft. If these rogue individuals are found guilty, SAP will have to consider whether its company culture encourages unethical behavior.

There is another aspect to this situation that warrants reflection, and that is the role of the Peoplesoft customers. It remains unclear if these customers gave their logons to SAP or if the SAP employees took them without the customers' knowledge. If it is the former, then Oracle needs to take a hard look at itself to understand what motivated these customers to do so. If it was dissatisfaction with their current supplier, then perhaps Oracle has a valuable lesson to learn about customer loyalty.

In other BI litigation news, I find it amazingly quiet on the newsfront on Informatica's outstanding lawsuit against Business Objects, filed when the latter acquired Acta. The suit went to jury trial this month, yet there hasn't been a peep about it in the press or from either vendor.

Cindi Howson, author of BIScorecard product reviews.The BI industry has long been rife with companies suing one another. Most recently, Hyperion and HyperRoll squabbled about patent infringements, finally agreeing to become partners. Business Objects and MicroStrategy kept counter suing each other over a period of five years, with both parties ultimately declaring victory and neither having to pay one another. Last week, Oracle joined the cacophony by filing claim against SAP.