back to article IT sales star wins $660k lawsuit against Oracle in Qatar – but can't collect, because the Oracle he sued suddenly vanished

In January last year, after four years of litigation, a former Oracle sales rep in Qatar won a lawsuit against the database giant to collect unpaid sales commission. But when he tried to collect the court-awarded windfall, he found that Oracle was doing business under a new name, leaving him with a collection order against a …

  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Is this a new low or just par for the course?

    1. Wade Burchette

      Trust me: Oracle hasn't reached the bottom yet. If ever there was a company that has a factory that punches puppies and kicks kitten, Oracle would that company.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        That's MY business plan

        I plan to set up an establishment in the Far East which causes pain to puppies and kittens whenever animal rights terrorists transgress in the U.S. or Europe, and e-mails the footage to the protesters. I'll sell the service to businesses, laboratories, individuals, and restaurants that are animal rights targets, and they can sponsor innocent animals to undergo needless suffering in exchange for the needful suffering of animals that the activists are preventing by illegitimate means.

        1. jason_derp

          Re: That's MY business plan

          Coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool. That should probably have a /s or something in there if it was meant to be a joke. This is the internet, there is little reason to not believe you're serious...

        2. M7S

          Re: That's MY business plan

          Perhaps you might monetise the original (and much missed) Bonsai Kitten website that I read about on El Reg many many years ago. The outrage factor from those not really getting it then might be equally replicated now, perhaps even enhanced with the "help" of social media

          For younger readers, have a gander around https://web.archive.org/web/20020207132327/http://www.bonsaikitten.com/bkintro.html

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "par for the course"

      The secret is to either fire them or renegotiate their contracts before the commission builds to these levels. Or just declare the commission as part of a separate deal - X% (yes, a single X) is "new business" while the rest of the deal was just an extension of existing business and belongs to Oracle.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Could be both?

      Hate to say it, but it might very well be both.

      Drilling rigs on the bottom of the barrel. . . . .

    4. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Oracle....

      About par, Oracle seem to one of those "mafia" companies that manages to find semi legal ways to abuse all it's stakeholders, and get away with it.

      I expect working in management there is like Game of Thrones.

  2. Lee D Silver badge

    And these are the people who you want to do business with?

    People who screw over their own sales people on a regular basis, and up-sticks-and-move without telling courts that they are being sued within?

    Sorry, but if that's how they treat their OWN people and the legal establishment, why the hell would I want to subject myself to their behaviour as a *customer*?

    1. Lexeus

      They are only screwing their workforce so they can give YOU (the customer) a better deal!! ;D

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
        Flame

        More like so they can give Larry another yacht.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        > They are only screwing their workforce so they can give YOU (the customer) a better deal!!

        As an employee of one of those customers (and having to work with one of the products in question):

        "Uh yeah. right."

    2. DougMac

      It is truely amazing that Oracle has any customers. If you think this is screwing you over, look into the licensing terms of an Oracle product, especially their flagship one.

      Even if the Oracle sales rep personally paid me $1mil, I still wouldn't in anyway purchase Oracle software for my company unless I wanted to screw them over big time. Perhaps that is the secret as to their existance.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        It is truly amazing that Oracle has any customers.

        What's more amazing is that sales types want to still work for them.

        1. 's water music Silver badge
          Trollface

          What's more amazing is that sales types want to still work for them.

          If the figures in the article(s) are the amounts of commission earned, which oracle claws back, which goes to court, which are won, which are reported, then imagine the commission amounts that are in play. Even if only a tiny proportion of the sales force ever stand a chance of earning the big bucks, it is a variable ratio reward schedule, the best kind.

          ----> like a meth-head but with better teeth---->

      2. Tinmyrea

        Good then. Go have fun with SQL Server

    3. asdf Silver badge

      Isn't late capitalism glorious? Its absurdity only matched by its random cruelty.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Darn it forgot the brought to you by Carl's Jr signature.

      2. Gary Bickford

        Things are changing while we watch

        Capitalism will always be continually changing - just like democracies and unlike centrally planned systems. Every system will have times and areas of 'badness' - that's my technical term :). But only dynamic 'edge of chaos' systems - democracy, free enterprise, like natural ecosystems - are self-adapting.

        My case in point us that right now under our noses an entirely new capital ecosystem is arising, which is based on the advent of strong community-based infrastructures in support of startups and entrepreneurship. This wave of new companies is replacing the loss within large corporations of internal R&D divisions. It is cheaper for the big corporations to buy out these startups than to develop their own, and they get a much broader more creative result. And the startups are often explicitly designed to be bought. This will evolve rapidly as the big corporations will become more like utilities.

        There are two key problems today. 1) in pursuit of the overly-emphasized and often illusory or mal-applied concept of the efficiency of scale, the laws and regulations have made it too easy to get big by acquisition if competitors. Rule of thumb - if any company controls over about 20% of a market the market is a frozen oligopoly with no effective competition. A truly free market will have big companies falling apart to compost about the same rate as mergers. 2) Closely related - government's enthusiasm for intrusive regulation dramatically encourages the demise of small organizations. For example, Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Agency has driven nearly every small and medium bank out of existence. Only the megabanks have the resources to comply with the mountain of compliance data required.

        Note, one if about 25 top level executives in_ both_ government and commerce are identifiable as psychopaths. This naturally includes some of our Congress critters, as well as wall Street. But most people at the top level are just trying to do a good job, in both business and government.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Things are changing while we watch

          50 years ago a company that acted like Oracle would be punished by both government and the market for this kind of behavior (but not 100+ years ago until the trusts were busted up). But today since greed is a virtue and ethics and morals is for suckers anything goes. Especially since mega corps transcend national borders so readily as this article shows.

          1. zb

            Re: Things are changing while we watch

            But today behaviour like that gets you the White House.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Things are changing while we watch

          You could have said the same thing with about one-third of the words.

    4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      "And these are the people who you want to do business with?"

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      The only reason I deal with the Minions is because my employers use them otherwise avoid them like the plague.

    5. Gary Bickford

      Customers too

      In fairness, by all accounts and from my own experience some time ago, Oracle treats their customers the same way. And I was once told that the original founders were also screwed by the team that invested & then took over the company.

      OTOH Ellison / Oracle does cool boats, so there's that! :D

    6. Julz Bronze badge

      They are an equal opportunity employer, it's not only their sales staff that get screwed over...

  3. David Austin

    What absolute cockweasels

    They're going on the sneaky bastard cockweasels list along with BlackBerry as companies I won't touch with a barge pole: As a rule, if they can't treat their staff right, forget treating their customers decently.

  4. NerryTutkins

    first rate arse licking

    ""Qatar being an amazing country where its foreign workforce is treated with fairness and respect with a very fair judicial process," he said.""

    Wow, top quality sucking up to the man. No wonder this silver-tongued guy is in sales.

    When I think about places that treat foreign workers with fairness and respect, I have to say that Qatar is probably not the first place that springs to mind. In fact, I seem to recall that it's a concentration camp for the workers building the World Cup venues. But I suppose 'fairness and respect' in the middle east is a relative term, and compared to the head choppers of ISIS, the cretins who run Qatar probably are saints.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: first rate arse licking

      first rate arse licking

      ""Qatar being an amazing country where its foreign workforce is treated with fairness and respect with a very fair judicial process," he said.""

      Oh come on, it's first-rate sarcasm. The guy doesn't live in Qatar any more. If he did, it would be first-rate trying-not-to-get-arbitrarily-imprisoned.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: first rate arse licking

      The UAE and Qatar, amongst others, have laws that effectively allow you to be arrested and imprisoned for 'cyberslander'. See the recent case of a UK woman who attended her ex-husband's funeral in Dubai, only to be arrested for a Facebook post in which she had referred to her ex's new wife as a 'horse'. Her ex's new wife had objected and reported it to the Dubai authorities. So, this guy might have some choice words for the judicial process in Qatar, or he may genuinely believe that they are being nice and fair and stuff. At least he did win the suit, and I would damn well hope that the court agrees that it's the new entity that's still liable for the old entity's wrongdoings. If the old entity is still there in name only, it's likely that it was left there for this lawsuit to finish and leave him with nothing to collect. Chances are that if the old entity had been closed down, the court would have been notified of it and things would've started again...

      1. aj69

        Re: first rate arse licking

        Uhm, didnn't know Sarah Jessica Parker had moved to Dubai.

      2. defiler Silver badge

        Re: first rate arse licking

        Ah - the "you left me for that horse?" comment. I did think that was pretty heavy-handed. If I could be arrested for half the insulting shit I've said online.

        Also I think you're all a bunch of fucking badger-hats, to a man (or woman).

    3. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: first rate arse licking

      As I said in another post yesterday, this is a result of the lifestyle they live ... they look down on every other non-<insert Gulf country here> as servants, nope, slaves, to the degree of a pure master-slave relationship.

      Though the English should consider themselves lucky, as they [folk in the Gulf] seem to have a strange disposition to appointing British people to run their businesses for them (because they are too thick to run them on their own, perhaps ... *), and as a result, quite often live in a similarly lavish lifestyle to that of their employers. Arab, African, or Indian expats are absolutely not as lucky.

      For instance, Emirates (the airline) is headed by Sir Tim Clark, and many British are on (the) board. (pun unintended), while Etihad (another airline of the UAE) has a James Hogan as president.

      __________

      * Unfortunately though, it's not there are no brilliant minds who happen to come from Arabian ancestry or among the expats living there, it's that the folk involved unfortunately believe that (a) other expats are too lowly to be put in a rank where they could manage nationals of their country and (b) one should just appoint a Westerner to turn their business into a Western success story to rival Apple et al. While that seems to be working, especially with their airlines, they don't understand that Western doesn't have to mean successful, nor the other way around.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: first rate arse licking

        It's because they send their crotch goblins to be educated at English public schools, and a lot of them then go on to places like Sandhurst.

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: first rate arse licking

          "crotch goblins" made me shoot my drink out my nose. Thank you for that & enjoy a pint in gratitude. XD

      2. Gary Bickford

        Re: first rate arse licking

        The Arab world had pretty good science and engineering 1000 years ago. The words Algebra and Algorithm came from there. But in about 1200 the encouragement of studying the Holy Books (all three Abrahamic religions) was apparently stopped, and replaced by simple unquestioning memorization of the Koran and rejection of the other books. Little scientific progress occurred in that region after that as far as I know (though I don't know much).

        Today, there is probably a bit if snobbism about having a British staff. But also I wonder if the schools and culture simply don't support the way of thinking required to do modern engineering. This needs to be taught and lived at an early age to build the mental habits.

        An old friend did some engineering for the King of Jordan, using entirely foreign staff except for laborers. The king told him that his own people were completely unable to operate or maintain the equipment. I think that's an overstatement, as several Arab countries have pretty good high tech air forces, which do not run themselves.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: first rate arse licking

          I worked with a member of the Bahraini royal family once, him in Manama, me in San Diego, on a nightly basis my time. One of the best programmers I've ever worked with, period. This was on the Amiga back in the late 80's. [Authored MaxCLI, ScriptIt, and FinalCalc. I did the maths and stats in that last.] It wasn't even close to what he did IRL (started as a bank examiner), just was his relaxation. Extremely sharp

        2. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

          Re: first rate arse licking

          Exactly! However ...

          But in about 1200 the encouragement of studying the Holy Books (all three Abrahamic religions) was apparently stopped, and replaced by simple unquestioning memorization of the Koran and rejection of the other books.

          What brought this around is that around this period (or actually 200 years later), Spain reconquered Andalusia, which is one of the most prominent centers of Arab/Islamic scientific advancement, and the ensuing succession of caliphs couldn't give a crap about science, caring about more important things like increasing personal power, leaving the rule of the state to their viziers, who mostly won't give a crap either. As a result, every Tom, Dick, and Harry then wanted to become caliph, taking advantage of the weakness, and civil war ensued.

          This continued until the Ottomans took over, but even they were toppled exactly the same way, though this time, the successors flew non-religious banners (secular, Communist, atheist, nationalist, or otherwise), and to this day, the Arab world is crippled by regimes that don't give two craps about scientific advancement.

          Somebody once told me that being scientific advanced is basically something you buy: When the national scientific budget of Israel exceeds that of all Arab universities combined, the result, that Israel is much more developed, is not at all odd. When Arab/Islamic rulers properly funded science, they had much scientific progress. Same goes for any other nation.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: first rate arse licking

        You were okay until the note. There have been many fine minds in the Arabic world, just most Westerners seem to have zero knowledge of their history. The West wouldn't even have algebra from India or the basis for much medicine until much later without them. Secondly, their airlines treat their customers great, their finances are far, far worse than most any other in the world. Read some posts by MC01 over on wolfstreet.com to get a good eyeful as well as the rest of the airlines.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: first rate arse licking

          Looking again at what I wrote, I noticed that I dropped two words, causing the meaning to totally change:

          The note would become as thus:

          * Unfortunately though, it's not as if there are no brilliant minds who happen to come from Arabian ancestry or among the expats living there ...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just think this is the way sales companies work

    Decades ago I worked for a dictation, early word processor company. I left after about four months and I saw a number of sales people treated that way. They get huge order and the next month they were gone and they didn't get their commission. I don't quite understand how it was done but the old timers told me it happened all of the time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I just think this is the way sales companies work

      Many years ago (early career) I was working as a tech for an ISP.

      Sales girl on the front desk mentioned if I wanted some extra cash, there's a commission (~$5/mo ongoing from memory) for any new people I get to join the ISP.

      "Sounds like a good opportunity" methinks. So I had a chat with some of the user associations for the larger tech employer companies in the state, to see if their members would benefit from a group deal / were interested.

      One particular place keenly was (25k members). After much discussion and several meetings over a few weeks, things looked rosy.

      One of the two company Directors thanked me for getting this set up, as it was a massive opportunity for my employer. The sale was lined up for signing in the next few days.

      He mentioned I'll get a bonus in my pay packet for it. When I asked him to clarify, as I'd put the effort in based on commission... he was like "No".

      Grrrr.

      I called the place with the about-to-be-signed sale (worth $$$), letting them know my employer was intent on screwing me over. Naturally, they didn't want to be involved with some place pulling dodgy stuff. Sale terminated.

      Idiot company Director. Don't screw your staff over.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: I just think this is the way sales companies work

        In this case, unless you DID check beforehand, the error was on YOUR side for taking the word of a front desk "sales girl" about the bonus before putting in the effort.

        1. Justin Clift

          Re: I just think this is the way sales companies work

          > In this case, unless you DID check beforehand, the error was on YOUR side for taking the word of a front desk "sales girl" about the bonus before putting in the effort.

          Oh, they had leaflets to the same effect for her to put up. Wasn't just her imagination. ;)

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: I just think this is the way sales companies work

            In that case, yes, dick move. I'd gather some leaflets, let the deal go through and tell them you'll see them in court for what they owe you.

  6. lglethal Silver badge
    WTF?

    Wow just wow.

    I can just imagine how a judge would react to the fact that a company has changed its legal entity mid-litigation and failed to inform the court. That's the sort of situation where the lawyers for Oracle should be looking more than a little nervous - that could very well go down the "contempt of court" route and a loss of your practicing licence.

    Triple damages all round would be a minimum outcome I'd expect if it was found to be a delibrate omission.

    Wow, the mind boggles sometimes....

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: Wow just wow.

      Contempt of what court? The company in question, as a legal entity, has vanished.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Wow just wow.

        That's fine.

        Who paid the lawyers? The entity that vanished? Oh well, recoup it from them. Or another entity that spontaneously started up and is now funding the lawyers? Whoops.

        Legal entities like companies may vanish, but the lawyers, (former) directors and others can still be held to account if there are matters outstanding. In some cases, such "winding-up" can be forcibly reversed, in fact, until such matters are dealt with.

        And the prime case of doing such things is exactly when people do it to evade justice.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Wow just wow.

        Nice! So I guess that all copyright/patents on Oracle software also vanished and the folks of Qatar can have a free-for-all as a result?

        No? Oh well whoever wants to asset IPR has to pay the bill...

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wow just wow.

        I'm not certain about the impact in Qatar, but in the US, the courts can actually undo such transactions if the plantiff can demonstrate that the transfers were intended to defraud. As the OP suggested, Oracle lawyers should be feeling very uncertain about their prospects at the moment.

      5. Happy_Jack

        Re: Wow just wow.

        According to the article it has been stripped of its assets, it hasn't vanished.

      6. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Wow just wow.

        No Waseem, the entity still exists. But it owns nothing, has nothing, is not paying anyone anything. Everything is done by another entity. Since the lawsuit lists only the original entity, not "this entity, and any other related entities", the original claim currently is stuck with the original entity. With any luck, the Qatari court will agree that the successor entity was set up to avoid litigation/compensation, and assign the compensation claim to the successor entity instead. It would make sense, but then again... *shrug*

      7. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Wow just wow.

        A company cannot give away it's assets to associates. I don't know about civil law countries or the US, but in most common law countries, company law was drafted with this old switcheroonie trick in mind. Company directors can be jailed for giving away assts. And it doesn't require the shareholders to enforce anything: creditors have rights, too. Hopefully, Qatar lifted it's corporations law from UK or Canada (or even the US, but I don't know US law).

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Wow just wow.

          It didn't "give away its assets to associates". They are legally transferred. There's no law against transferring assets from one entity to another if they are both owned by the same owner, provided they are accounted correctly. But yes, leaving an entity an empty shell to let a lawsuit complete and leave the plaintiff with nothing is a silly shell game that would have consequences.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow just wow.

      I'd almost feel sorry for any officers at the new Oracle entity when it comes to the attention of the court. except it being Oracle. While nowhere near as harsh "justice" as Saudi Arabia, Qatari "justice" is still very harsh.

      Thought probably never crossed their mind. But, "we're Oracle!" [Trump has negative influence in Qatar. We need our military base. They don't need US.]

  7. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Devil

    I'd look for an obligatory Catbert evil HR overlord cartoon...

    But I wouldn't want to risk equating Catbert's random evil with Oracle's programmatic association with the dark powers.

  8. Ima Ballsy
    IT Angle

    Fcsk;ing hell ....

    I guess they do this so much they have a web page just for this:

    https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E39583_01/fscm92pbr0/eng/fscm/fcam/concept_UnderstandingContractAmendments-9f5d64.html

  9. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Alert

    On that note....

    They've slipped a shiner in the new java SE security updates - $2.50 per seat, per month for non personal or development use.

    Being a sneaky and evasive bunch seems par for course.

  10. elDog Silver badge

    Looking forward to a satisfactory explanation from Oracle; or more likely a lawsuit

    Larry Lawsuit used to go by Leisuresuit. Bet he's pals with John (not the CEO) McAffee.

  11. JoMe

    Given the sliminess of Oracle Sales Reps in general

    I don't have any problem with them getting screwed over here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Given the sliminess of Oracle Sales Reps in general

      Very true with sales and management. Hummm do I want to be on the Idiot bosses side or the Slimy Sales Reps side. Think I'll sit this one out.

  12. Basil II

    Oracle should be in contempt of court.

    Larry Ellison needs to spend hard time in prison.

  13. whoseyourdaddy

    If promised features were delivered thanks to the hard work of a lot of engineers, justify this commission to the salesperson? I ask this as an employee who's counting on my equity compensation to not be sandbagged by someone who knows what phone numbers to dial and boxes to click.

    ...while eating my bag lunch after I expanded an Atlassian license without human interaction.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Required comment

    One

    Rich

    Asshole

    Called

    Larry

    Ellison

  15. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

    Well....Qatar is one of the Middle Eastern states where Oracle execs in the USA can be ordered to be arrested if they go into ANY OTHER Mideast state such as Dubai and then handed over for an actual and very real flogging (i.e. 50 to 100 lashes as the usual punishment which usually means DEATH!) and/or crucifixion or 100 year sentences in a unlit underground prison cave!

    Qatar doesn't fool around! They don't give a R(&*^^&ts A$$$ if they're American....Those Oracle execs face ACTUAL FLOGGINGS if they don't follow through with their compensation!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      UAE?

      Are you perhaps thinking of the UAE, the United Arab Emirates?

      Yes, they routinely behave barbarically, and I wouldn't ever willingly visit any of them, but if you think they're going to be flogging Oracle execs then perhaps we can arrange a sizeable wager?

    2. Dabbb Bronze badge

      Except that UAE and Qatar are not exactly friendly countries and UAE would not give rat's butthole about what Qatar wants, same as pretty much anyone else in Middle East.

  16. Tim99 Silver badge
    Devil

    On old saying - Going back to the 1980s

    One Real Arsehole Called Larry Ellison, allegedly.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    It's a tricky one...

    On one hand, most marketing, PR and sales people are immoral scum, and it's net positive for the world when something bad happens to one of them.

    On the other hand, Oracle.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: It's a tricky one...

      The Prophet Hicks had it right.

  18. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Here's an alternative:

    If he can't collect cash because the old company is gone, he should be awarded any assets still available under the old business... Like f'instance ownership of the name "Oracle Systems, Limited" (or "Oracle Systems -- Qatar", whichever it was doing business under) to use for his own business or to sell to the highest bidder.

    Seems fair to me.

  19. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It could backfire. Use this case as evidence to demand a freeze of all assets as soon as the next suit is served. The outcome would probably be a requirement to deposit a substantial amount in escrow but it might produce an instant settlement.

  20. Chris Manson

    Time to take what I call the 'SID' (Speaking In Defence) approach

    Too often companies or other entities decline to say anything when we are all DYING to hear what verbal weasel-worded convolutions they'll come up with.

    My solution would be to have someone in the role of 'SID'.

    SID will speak in, er, defence of that silent entity.

    They will of course (this IS The Register) do it in such a satirically bad way that the entity will be forced to speak up or remain silent and let Sid have the final word.

    Should be a heap of fun and be the death knell for 'No comment!' responses.

    What do you all reckon??

    chris

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