Oracle charges put Microsoft on offense

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft’s PR minions have welcomed the opportunity to turn the spotlight on Oracle following CEO Larry Ellison’s admission that his company hired a detective agency to spy on pro-Microsoft organizations.

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft’s PR minions have welcomed the opportunity to turn the spotlight on Oracle following CEO Larry Ellison’s admission that his company hired a detective agency to spy on pro-Microsoft organizations.

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft’s PR minions have welcomed the opportunity

to turn the spotlight on Oracle following CEO Larry Ellison’s admission

that his company hired a detective agency to spy on pro-Microsoft

organizations.



After the news broke that Oracle had employed Investigative Group

International (IGI) to engage in corporate espionage, Ellison denied

that any laws had been broken or that the company had specifically hired

the firm to ’spy.’ In fact, the notoriously forthright CEO actually

described the snooping as a ’civic duty’ and ’a public service’ to

expose Microsoft funding of groups claiming to be independent.



’I feel very good about what we did,’ Ellison crowed.



Predictably, Microsoft spokesperson Mark Murray didn’t buy the spin,

calling the IGI efforts ’disturbing ... self-serving and disingenuous.’

He also accused Oracle of funding several front groups to undermine

Microsoft during its recent antitrust trial - a charge Ellison denied,

jokingly offering to ship Oracle’s trash to Redmond, WA for

inspection.



PR pros, however, said neither company should be quick to point an

accusatory finger.



’There are lots of similarities between Microsoft and Oracle’s

activities,’ noted Larry Kamer, president of GCI Kamer-Singer. ’Both of

them acted guilty when caught, which made the story ’this was just our

civic duty and the right and respectful thing to do’ a tough sell.

Ellison’s response, trying to turn himself into some kind of public

servant for truth, was more damaging than the act itself.’



Ellison’s handling of the so-called ’Larrygate’ incident may have been

far from ideal, but his company’s actions are not especially

uncommon.



According to a recent San Francisco Examiner report, industry analysts

estimate that ’slightly more than 80% of the world’s companies with a

market cap of more than dollars 1 billion have a formal intelligence

program to gather information on competitors.’



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