Oracle and Autonomy trade insults


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The American software giant Oracle has become embroiled in an extraordinary public spat with its British blue-chip rival Autonomy, accusing its chief executive of telling "whoppers".

The feud between the Oracle chief executive, Larry Ellison, and Autonomy's Mike Lynch had been building since Mr Ellison said Cambridge-based Autonomy had attempted to "shop" itself to Oracle before sealing an $11.7bn (£7.5bn) takeover by Hewlett-Packard.

Mr Lynch denied the claims, but Oracle hit back, saying: "Either Mr Lynch has a very poor memory or he's lying." Mr Lynch then claimed Oracle's bitterness was "an attempt at diversion from their poor positioning" in Autonomy's specialism: unstructured data.

"Oracle seems a little confused about the sequence of events and origins of the data it has received," he added. "Something that would suggest it needs better management of and insight into the unstructured data on its internal systems. We would be delighted to help."

Late on Wednesday, Oracle blindsided the target of its wrath by creating a link on its website dubbed "please buy Autonomy".

It posted several statements denouncing the software group and posted a slide presentation Mr Lynch is alleged to have presented to Oracle's president, Mark Hurd, and its head of mergers and acquisitions, Doug Kehring, to encourage a bid. "After listening to Mr Lynch's PowerPoint slide sales pitch to sell Autonomy to Oracle, Mr Hurd and Mr Kehring told Mr Lynch that with a current market value of $6bn, Autonomy was already extremely over-priced," Oracle said. Mr Lynch denied "shopping" Autonomy in the meeting, saying it was limited to a "discussion of database technologies".

"If some bank happened to come with us on a list, that is nothing to do with us," he said.