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Others drawn into Oracle, Rimini Street legal fray

Chris Kanaracus | April 6, 2011
Three other providers of third-party software maintenance have been drawn into the legal battle between Oracle and Rimini Street.

Three other providers of third-party software maintenance have been drawn into the legal battle between Oracle and Rimini Street, a Las Vegas company that provides support for Oracle applications, according to a document filed late last month in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

Rimini Street CEO Seth Ravin was a co-founder of TomorrowNow, the former SAP subsidiary at the heart of Oracle's corporate theft suit against SAP, which ultimately resulted in a US$1.3 billion jury award against SAP last year. Oracle sued SAP in 2007, alleging TomorrowNow workers illegally downloaded Oracle software and support materials. SAP accepted liability for TomorrowNow's actions but considers the award's size to be unfair

Oracle sued Rimini Street in January 2010, alleging that Ravin duplicated TomorrowNow's "corrupt business model" at Rimini Street. But Ravin has maintained that Rimini Street acts within its customers' rights under their software licenses.

Now, the litigation may be poised to have a broader impact on the third-party maintenance market.

Since Jan. 25, Oracle has issued subpoenas to Rimini Street competitors Spinnaker Support, CedarCrestone and netCustomer, according to the March 25 case management statement. Rimini Street did the same soon after Oracle's actions, it adds.

Oracle had not heard from netCustomer as of the filing and "is negotiating with Spinnaker Support and CedarCrestone with respect to their objections," it states.

Spinnaker provides support for Oracle's JD Edwards software, while CedarCrestone offers it for PeopleSoft. NetCustomer has support services for PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel.

Both Oracle and SAP subpoenaed CedarCrestone during their legal case, seeking to find out details of its business model. And in 2008, Oracle subpoenaed Spinnaker, which had hired some ex-TomorrowNow workers.

Now, both Oracle and Rimini are asking for general information about dealings Spinnaker may have had with the other, said Matt Stava, co-founder and managing principal, in an interview Wednesday. "But quite honestly, there's nothing there."

Stava said he did not know why Oracle hasn't made the same types of legal moves against Spinnaker as it has with Rimini Street.

But Spinnaker has a wide range of offerings, including a consulting organization that does upgrades, he said.

"Many of our customers still pay Oracle and still pay us for a broader set of support," he said. For example, Spinnaker staffers have taken over support chores for companies that are moving off Oracle software and onto SAP, but want to ensure a smooth transition while the original team gets retrained for the new system, he said.

CedarCrestone's website lists a number of services besides support, including implementations, and also identifies the company as an Oracle Platinum Partner. Services named on netCustomer's site include development work, such as customizations and integration, as well as maintenance and support.


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