Down, Boy!

Sarah Lacy

I’ve noted a few times that SAP has become the PR pit bull when it comes to Oracle. Last December, when Oracle announced its quarterly earnings, SAP sent out a press release within minutes of the company’s conference call refuting claims of customer wins, market share gains and the like. I asked SAP's Shai Agassi about this Wednesday morning at the AMR Research conference and he practically shrieked "That’s because they are lying!"

The righteous indignation continued throughout the day. That afternoon as Oracle executives prepared for their four hour event to chronicle their progress on "Fusion," SAP sent out another missive: a fact sheet with Oracle claims and SAP counter claims, complete with suggested questions for reporters and analyst names and numbers to back up SAP’s point of view. Whoa. Last I checked, coming up with questions and sources was my job.

I get the intent, but SAP appears to have crossed a line with this one. From some quick conversations that day, it seems none of the analysts knew they’d be on this list—and some were more than a bit irritated at the move and that their cell phone numbers were listed. Several remarked with surprise that brash CEO Larry Ellison’s company seems to be the one taking the highroad here. One firm that made a stink about it told me that SAP is drafting an apology letter.

Careful, SAP, you might start to look worried.

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