A federal jury has ordered SAP AG to pay $1.3 billion to its archenemy, Oracle Corp, for stealing customer-support documents and software in a scheme to siphon off customers.
The verdict amounts to more than half of SAP's total profit last year and stunned the German software maker. It had only set aside $160 million for anticipated damages, and already paid $120 million of that to Oracle's lawyers.
The penalty is one of the largest on record for software piracy, and has the potential to reshape the business software landscape because of the extent of the damage to the pocketbook and reputation of one of its biggest players.
The verdict came after less than a full day of jury deliberations, and followed a three-week trial that turned into a Silicon Valley sideshow.
"For more than three years, SAP stole thousands of copies of Oracle software and then resold that software and related services to Oracle's own customers," Oracle co-president Safra Catz said after the verdict.