SAP suing Siebel over predatory hiring practices

SAP America has filed a lawsuit against rival Siebel Systems, alleging the defections of several of its executives to Siebel were the result of "predatory hiring practices".

The suit says that more than 20 employees, including several top executives, have left SAP for Siebel in the past year, Siebel said in a statement.

"Over approximately the last year, Siebel has engaged in a systematic effort to injure SAP's business and impede SAP's ability to compete with Siebel in the CRM (customer resources management) marketplace," the lawsuit alleges, according to Siebel's statement.

Neither company could be reached for comment today.

In March of this year, SAP announced that Jeremy Coote resigned as SAP America president to become vice president of Siebel's North America operations. Then in May, Siebel announced that Paul Wahl, a former chief executive officer of SAP America who briefly became CEO of TriStrata Security , had been appointed as Siebel's new president and chief operating officer.

One industry analyst, commenting on the SAP lawsuit, said executive defections to rival software vendors are commonplace.

"You have to believe Siebel enticed these people with some interesting stock considerations," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies Two years ago, Microsoft and Borland International (now known as Inprise ) clashed over the same issue. Borland sued Microsoft alleging the US software giant had systematically tried to raid its staff to gain a competitive advantage. The suit was settled out of court in September 1997

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