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SJ Mercury: Ellison defends snooping on Microsoft as 'public service'

Jun 29, 2000, 18:32 (19 Talkback[s])


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"Oracle Corp. Chairman Larry Ellison staunchly defended his company's hiring of a detective agency to investigate groups that supported rival Microsoft Corp., calling the snooping a ``public service.'' News of the investigation Wednesday turned a previously scheduled Oracle news conference into a stormy affair, drowning out product announcements that were supposed to provide the Redwood Shores-based company's answer to Microsoft's sweeping Internet strategy announced last week."

"The brouhaha over Oracle's spying activities underscored the fierce rivalry between the software behemoths and Ellison's never-ending drive to knock Microsoft from its position as the world's largest software maker. Oracle, the second-largest software firm, publicly acknowledged Tuesday that it had hired Investigative Group International Inc., a Washington D.C. investigative firm, a year ago to look into actions of Independent Institute of Oakland and the National Taxpayers Union of Arlington, Va."

"Calling the two organizations ``front groups'' for Microsoft, Oracle said the organizations attempted to influence public opinion in favor of Microsoft during its antitrust trial -- without revealing that the groups were funded by the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. ``We're helping Microsoft with its full disclosure problem,'' said Ellison, who said Oracle's investigation was a ``civic duty."

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