Oracle's $1.3B win over SAP means HP CEO can stop 'hiding'

HP boss Leo Apotheker surfaces on earnings call with sense of humor intact

A jury's decision to award Oracle $1.3 billion in damages for software theft admitted to by SAP will be appealed, of course, but the conclusion of the trial has produced at least one immediate effect: HP CEO Leo Apotheker has surfaced.

You may recall that during the high-profile trial Oracle had attempted to subpoena Apotheker, formerly the top guy at SAP, but neither HP nor Apotheker proved inclined to see him take the stand. Apotheker made himself scarce so as to avoid the jury box, a decision that caused the press much merriment and HP a measure of embarrassment.

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Yesterday, with the Oracle/SAP jury done with witnesses, Apotheker appeared on HP's quarterly earnings call with the media ... and made light of all the "Where's Leo?" business.

Here's how it went down:

TheStreet asked Apotheker where he was making the call from. "That's an odd question -- you mean, physically, right now?" asked Apotheker. "I'm on the media call concerning our fourth-quarter in Palo Alto at HP's headquarters together with a bunch of people.

"Would you like a picture?"

Yes, although I doubt HP's public relations department will come across with one.

Moreover, Apotheker took pains to make clear that he hadn't exactly spent the duration of the trial hunkered down in Dick Cheney's "undisclosed location."

"I have been from California to Massachusetts and Germany to Singapore, with many stops in between," he said.

No word on whether he was traveling under his own name.

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