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HP has equaled scores with Oracle with the appointment of its rival SAP's former CEO Leo Apotheker as President and CEO.

It also announced Ray Lane, managing partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as nonexecutive chairman.

Leo Apotheker served as CEO of SAP from 2008 until Feb. 2010, when in a surprise move he stepped down. Also Ray Lane is a former President and COO of Oracle.

Taking aim at Oracle's strategy to poach Mark Hurd, HP has hired Oracle's key rival in the enterprise business, SAP's former CEO. Oracle was locked with SAP in lawsuit filed in 2007 whereby it had charged SAP's business unit in Texas, TomorrowNow of stealing copyrighted material from Oracle's password protected website. It had further amended its lawsuit and implicated four SAP board members, including co-CEO Kagermann, of oversight of the illegal functioning of the Texas unit.

However, as to how would an enterprise focused company's CEO fit into HP's consumer oriented business is subject of scrutiny, though on the other hand the appointment also buttresses HP's plan to move into enterprise level solutions. Its acquisition of companies such as EDS, 3PAR and ArcSight highlights its enterprise plans, thus Apotheker's appointment could assist in aforesaid change in focus.

Also with Ray Lane's appointment, HP is calling it equal with Oracle as HP has been concerned about disclosure of trade secrets with Mark Hurd's appointment as President in Oracle - the key charge in its now settled lawsuit. Thus HP avails of the experience of an Oracle President in its attempt to build an enterprise focused company.

Apotheker comes with 20 years of experience with SAP, primarily in dealing with consultants to effect enterprise integration. This experience could gel well with HP's strategy to acquire and integrate companies in its fold.

However, SAP did not fare well under Apotheker's leadership as it failed to spot movement of enterprise integration towards web-based solutions rather than monolithic server-based ERP solutions. It announced in 2007 that it would launch its Web-hosted business-management software called Business By Design which would use its own servers with the software being accessible over the web. The project was riddled with delays and was launched in 2010.

SAP was also a subject of acquisition by Microsoft in 2004 which would have been the biggest IT merger if it had transpired. With Apotheker's appointment, HP has once again set the rumor mill chugging about a potential SAP takeover by HP, as it will bode well with its plans to counter Oracle and IBM at the enterprise level

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Vijay Nachimuthu

By Vijay Nachimuthu

Vijay Nachimuthu is a Managing Principal of AltaFlux. His blogs mainly focuses on latest cloud technology trends and its impact on enterprises.