Monday, September 1, 2014

Oracle $1.3 Billion Jury Verdict in SAP Case Reduced

Oracle $1.3 Billion Jury Verdict in SAP Case Reduced

Oracle Can Accept Lower Damages or Pursue New Trial

A three-judge federal appeals panel Friday threw out a $1.3 billion jury verdict onOracle Corp.'s copyright-infringement case against rival SAP AG saying the award had been "based on undue speculation."
In an opinion by Judge William A. Fletcher, the judges set damages to $356.7 million, which reflects a higher $120.7 million in lost profit as well as $236 million in SAP's infringer's profit.
The judges also upheld a motion for a new trial if Oracle rejects the lower award and upheld a lower court 's decision barring Oracle from presenting hypothetical-license damages at the new trial and allowing SAP's expert to testify.
Oracle declined to comment on whether it would accept the verdict or move for a new trial.
A company spokeswoman said Oracle welcomed the decision, "which effectively permits Oracle to recover close to half a billion dollars in damages and attorneys' fees from SAP's brazen conduct and cover-up."
"This sends a strong message to those who would prefer to cheat than compete fairly and legally," Dorian Daley, Oracle's general counsel, said in a statement.
SAP said it was pleased with the decision, which set damages closer the company's view. "We hope it brings this matter one step closer to resolution," said Andy Kendzie, an SAP spokesman.
Oracle filed suit in 2007 alleging that TomorrowNow, an enterprise software company that had been acquired by SAP, was illegally downloading Oracle's software.
TomorrowNow, which has been discontinued, provided maintenance services to Oracle customers using those downloads until sometime in 2008, according to court documents.
SAP eventually admitted to liability, and Oracle dismissed its noncopyright claims with prejudice, which means it couldn't file another complaint on the same claims. The companies went to trial to determine damages.


Australia leads world in Cloud deployment: Global Datacentre Census


Australia leads world in Cloud deployment: Global Datacentre Census
Infrastructure deployment have grown from 17 per cent in 2011 to 45 per cent in 2014
Australia is leading the world in deployment of Cloud infrastructure, according to the Global Datacentre Census.
DatacenterDynamics intelligence forecasts that by end of 2014 almost 50 per cent of Australian organizations will be deploying and/or have already deployed some form of Cloud computing into their IT infrastructure, particularly in a hybrid version.
Based on last year's census, data deployment of Cloud infrastructure architecture grew from 17 per cent in 2011 to 45 per cent in 2014 compared to the global average which grew from 11 per cent in 2011 to 35 per cent in 2014.
That is 150 per cent growth in 3 years in Australia compared to 106 per cent globally.
Last year's Census also reported that Australia is one of the three most expensive markets in the world for datacentre operational costs.
According to DatacenterDynamics, a byproduct of increased rates of Cloud adoption are IT professionals and facility engineers now need to be fluent in networking, telecommunications and financial management to make informed decisions on how IT is to be deployed.
"With Cloud computing becoming more reliable, affordable and secure, the decisions on how enterprises invest and roll out IT services efficiently will rest on those with experience and knowledge of both IT and facilities," according to a statement.
On October 7, Melbourne will host Datacenter Dynamics' third Converged conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre.
The annual event will discuss and dissect the industry from the perspective of Cloud computing, software defined everything, server and rack technologies, as well as efficiencies in cooling, networks and power management.
This year's 20 speaker conference program will include a diverse range of speakers from NAB, Lonely Planet, Intel, Aptira, Australian Institute of Energy, Oracle, EY and OUA - representing a cross-section of industries from both the facility and IT side of the house.

7-Eleven takes a big gulp of venture capital


7 elevens venture arm invests in a coffee start up to help with fresh products. Aivars Lode avantce

7-Eleven takes a big gulp of venture capital
7-11 is getting into the venture capital game alongside such players as Google Ventures and Intel Capital. Bloomberg
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The UpTake: Look for the corner store to get more innovative now that 7-Eleven is working with startups as a venture capitalist.
Quick, when you think 7-Eleven, what do you think? Big Gulps? Slurpees? How about venture capital?
That's right, the corner convenience store company has gotten into the venture capital game alongside such corporate players as Google Venturesand Intel Capital.
Called 7-Ventures and led by a long-time business development executive with the company, Raja Doddala, the new venture arm for the company is focused on startups in the retail and food spaces.
"One of the ways we think we want to develop new products… is to invest," Doddala told me this afternoon. "The purpose is to really learn about new products and services by investing in these companies."
7-Ventures isn't the only recent initiative for 7-Eleven, which has its U.S. headquarters in Dallas. The company is on an aggressive expansion kick that could take it to 30,000 stores in North America from 8,500 stores today.
Doddala said that as his company expands, the focus at stores and in the corporate suite is on 7-Eleven's own initiatives, while his group can bring in the knowledge and energy gleaned from startups.
"One of the reasons that we set up a different organization is that we can make these decisions more rapidly," he said.
For the startups, 7-Ventures has a certain appeal as an investor. The firm brings deep knowledge of how customers shop. And then there's its vast network of stores, which can be a great testing ground for startup ideas.
"The most obvious benefit is as a testing ground," he said.
So far, 7-Ventures has invested in two companies, an unnamed coffee startup that could help 7-Eleven improve its fresh food and beverage service but that Doddala wouldn't give details about, and, today, Belly, a Chicago customer loyalty marketing platform.
Doddala said Primack the Belly investment gives 7-Eleven an opportunity to learn how loyalty networks work.
"It allows us to learn more how the network effects can drive traffic and engagement at our stores," he said.
And there's a big difference between 7-Eleven's venture capital arm and even the other corporate players in the VC space. 7-Ventures isn't necessarily looking to make money from its deals.
"Obviously we want to make money on these deals but that is not the primary goal," he said. "To learn…that's the motivation."

Risks Create Tumult for Tech, Health-Care Firms


Legacy Software companies are facing the same issues that caused them to grow. Aivars Lode avantce

Risks Create Tumult for Tech, Health-Care Firms

Contingency Planning Is Becoming Tougher for Business Leaders


Change can be good, bad or just plain scary. That is clear from the strongest trends in second-quarter financial results.
Seismic shifts in the technology and health-care sectors highlight why executives are divided or undecided about taking financial and strategic risks. At the same time, the number of geopolitical tinderboxes has multiplied, raising the stakes for multinationals.General Motors Co., Procter & Gamble Co.and General Electric Co., for example, sell more than half of their products overseas.
"It's much tougher for businesses to do contingency planning in a slow growth environment, which is what we're in globally right now, especially in the face of unprecedented idiosyncratic risks," said Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University and a former chief economist for Morgan Stanley.
Overall, financial performance between April and June was solid. Companies in the S&P 500 are expected to post earnings growth of 7.6% over year-ago levels and a revenue bump of 4.4%, based on projections from FactSet. More than 90% of the companies have already reported.
However, recent news that Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. will fire up to a combined 24,000 employees means tech-sector layoffs this quarter will likely top last quarter's 25,000, which was up about 20% from the second quarter last year, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an outplacement firm.
In late May, Hewlett-Packard Co. said it would hand pink slips to as many as 16,000 more employees as part of a restructuring plan launched two years ago.
"We continue to see an acceleration of the massive shifts that are transforming the way customers buy, pay for and consume technology," Meg Whitman, H-P's chief executive officer, told investors at the time. "This reality is creating both opportunities and challenges for H-P and every one of our competitors."
The tech industry is expected to show earnings growth of 9.2% in the second quarter, compared with the year-ago period, and revenue up 6.6%, according to FactSet.
However, 17 tech companies have already warned investors their profits will be lower than expected for the third quarter, more than any other sector.
"They're chasing the next area of growth," explained John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "It's like a forest fire that comes in, and it does change and prepare the ground" for future foliage to sprout.
Cisco plans to "reinvest substantially all of the cost savings from the restructuring actions in our key growth areas," Chief Financial Officer Frank Calderoni told investors last week.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the health-care industry. The still-evolvingAffordable Care Act, has made many companies hire thousands and plow millions into their businesses.
The health-care sector is expected to post revenue growth of 12.2%, the highest of any sector, and earnings growth of 15.9%, second only to the telecommunications industry.
Health-care companies increased spending on buildings and equipment by 15%, the greatest surge of any sector and compared with a 24% decline in the second quarter last year, according to FactSet.
Companies boosting capital expenditures included Tenet Healthcare Corp., which nearly doubled its spending to $242 million. Baxter InternationalInc. and Cardinal Health Inc. both increased capital spending by more than 20% to $423 million and $111 million, respectively.
Atlantic Health System is spending millions of dollars on an electronic medical-record system to replace its current 10, in part to respond to changing regulations.
The closely held hospital group based in New Jersey also plans "a lot of projects in the $5 million-to-$10 million range," such as more ambulatory-care facilities, said CFO Kevin Lenahan. "We want to be more involved in the total dollar" of patients' health-care spending.
New technologies and legislation, however, can be easier to react to than rockets, deadly viruses or a coup d'├ętat. Plus, there is the added risk for multinationals of currency volatility and controls.
In the second quarter, the Russian ruble stabilized against the U.S. dollar, but that was little comfort for companies affected by U.S. and European economic sanctions over the conflict with Ukraine.
European economic growth also has slowed. Italy is in another recession and France has flatlined.
"Zero sales in Venezuela once again," said James Loree, president and chief operating officer of Stanley Black & Decker, referring to the negligible value of their invoices.
Aon PLC, an insurance broker and risk-management consultant, publishes a quarterly risk map of hot spots around the world and there are many more crimson countries than last year.
"The world is a more dangerous place," said Roger Schwartz, head of Aon's political-risk practice. "Over the past six to 12 months we've seen a steady increase in demand for political-risk insurance, driven by the unfortunate deterioration of geopolitical situations in a lot of areas."
Craig Foster, CFO of Ubiquiti Networks Inc., which sells communications-networking equipment in 160 countries, is tracking four situations now: the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, and between Israel and Palestine, as well as the Argentine bond default and the increasing violence in Iraq.
"We don't believe we're going to be able to ship into [Iraqi] because of the issues that they're having with the ports and kind of ongoing skirmishes in the country," Mr. Foster said.
" 'When we think it's safe, we'll send it,' " he said his distributors in Saudi Arabia told him, " 'but for now don't send anything.' "