Oracle, SAP Trial Begins in California Without Word From New HP Chief

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Jury selection for a major copyright case involving Oracle Corp. (ORCL) and its smaller competitor SAP AG (SAP) started in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, marking the beginning of a trial between the two software companies that's been more than two years in the making, Reuters reported.

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Oracle President Safra Katz was in the courtroom gallery, while SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott indicated that he will be in court on Tuesday, the wire service reported. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ), which is bringing aboard former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker as its new CEO this week, declined to say whether Apotheker will appear in court, according to Reuters.

Oracle seeks about $2 billion in damages for an incident in which an SAP subsidiary downloaded a piece of Oracle software and used it to compete for Oracle's customers. SAP, which has admitted to wrongdoing, says it may owe tens of millions of dollars in damages. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison last week accused Apotheker of stealing ideas from Oracle while running SAP, adding that he plans to require Apotheker to appear at this week's trial.

SAP last week said third-quarter earnings rose less than analysts expected as earnings growth lagged sales increases, causing the German software maker's shares to fall. McDermott also implied that SAP will challenge Oracle for new-product customers.

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