SAP admits to "some inappropriate downloads" in Oracle case

SAP AG waited until almost the last minute to refute Oracle Corp.'s strongly worded legal complaints accusing it of stealing trade secrets in a bid to attract new customers.

The German software company admitted to "some inappropriate downloads" by its TomorrowNow software support subsidiary, but said SAP never had access to the downloads. TomorrowNow was authorized to download materials from Oracle's Web site on behalf of customers, SAP said in a statement, but acknowledged that there were some inappropriate downloads of fixes and support documents. SAP announced new oversights at TomorrowNow designed to avoid such complications in the future.

"Even a single inappropriate download is unacceptable from my perspective," said Henning Kagermann, CEO of SAP, in a statement issued Tuesday. "We regret very much that this occurred."

The U.S. Department of Justice has asked for documents related to the case from SAP and TomorrowNow, SAP said, and the companies will fully cooperate with the request.

Oracle filed a surprise lawsuit against SAP on March 22 charging that the company and its TomorrowNow [CQ] third-party support subsidiary had committed "corporate theft on a grand scale."

Oracle alleged that one or more TomorrowNow staff illegally hacked into a secure support Web site for users of Oracle's PeopleSoft and JD Edwards applications and downloaded vast amounts of online content, which SAP then used to offer Oracle customers cut-rate support services.

Under a legal stipulation the two vendors agreed in mid-May that SAP had until July 2 to issue its response, and SAP said it filed its response in U.S. District Court late Monday.

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