In a few recent posts I have warned about depending on the technical press as a source of information and research on information technology (IT) investing. I guess a corrolary to that advice should be added: never ever depend on an automated journalistic web site for infomation on your IT investments.
A site called benzinga was claiming as of noon or so continental U.S. time Monday August 2 that Dow Jones is suing Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) for fraud. I can imagine how the artifical intelligence software used in benzinga somehow turned the Department of Jusitce into Dow Jones but it still makes you want to be real cautious. (By the time you read this, the web site might have caught its error. On the other hand, perhaps it needs a robot to fix the problem.)
As for the real story... it appears that Oracle pricing on its General Services Administration (GSA) list, from which U.S. government departments are supposed to buy if they have not otherwise cut a specific deal with a company, is not up to date. There's a shocker. The U.S. GSA process is interminable. Getting your GSA list right makes dealing with U.S. Social Security Administration or Internal Revenue Service seem like dealing with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) or Lands End.
So someone decided to sue Oracle over that. Wait! On first read, it looks like the guy suing Oracle is the guy who until recently was in charge of getting Oracle prices approved by the GSA. And the U.S. Department of Justice -- which lacks the time to enforce immigration laws, find Whitey Bulger, find a place to try the mastermind of 9/11, etc. -- has found the time to join in the "whistleblower's suit."
Lawyers, you gotta love 'em. Filing such suits is a new growth industry for the business equivalent of ambulance chasers. Almost always these suits are settled by companies before trial so as to avoid the aggravation. Oracle itself already settled such a suit a few years ago that it inherited from Peoplesoft. EMC settled one recently according to the San Jose Mercury.
But Oracle proved it has backbone in standing up to Neelie Kroes and the European Union's shakedown when it came to getting the Sun acquisition approved. Even after Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) had been forced to blink in a similar situation. Let's hope Oracle will do the same thing in this case (if simply because I can get a lot of blog posts out of it).
Disclosure: no financial interest in companies mentioned except for a trivial amount of EMC shares.