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Newspapers go to war in Hurd feud

by Sarah Griffiths on 13 October 2010, 10:26

Tags: Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL)

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Hurd it through the grapevine

In a bizarre twist, two rival newspapers have started their own kind of smear campaign against each other as the well-publicised Oracle versus HP feud rumbles on, stoked by the appointment of Mark Hurd and now Léo Apotheker too.

The New York Times' business columnist, Joe Nocera let rip this week about HP's replacement CEO, Léo Apotheker, a former top man at SAP who he claimed was involved in a lawsuit over intellectual property theft between SAP and Oracle.

Meanwhile rag rival The Wall Street Journal hit back by publishing a letter from incoming HP chairman Ray Lane, who said the piece ‘grossly mischaracterises' why Hurd left HP and why Oracle appointed Apotheker.

So now it would seem that the two tech giants are not the only ones at war as The WSJ has now revealed that its rival's columnist, Nocera who slagged off HP, reportedly has a conflict of interest.

The WSJ reported that Nocera's fiancée called Dawn Schnieder, is director of communications at the law firm that is representing Oracle in its ongoing spat with SAP.

Interestingly, the paper noted that its rival, The New York Times has reportedly added an editor's note to Nocera's now famously scathing story.

It read: "In the Talking Business column in Business Day on Saturday, Joe Nocera wrote about a lawsuit by Oracle against a division of SAP, claiming theft of intellectual property. Mr. Nocera learned after the column was published  that Oracle was represented by the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, where his fiancée works as director of communications. To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, Mr. Nocera would not have written about the case if he had known of the law firm's involvement."

While many may question whether the savvy journo was unaware of who his partner works for, it does seem to have intensified the rivalry between two influential publications and has once again thrown Oracle and HP's relationship, which they claimed to have patched up last month, into sharp relief again.

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