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HP CEO: Cooling His Heels in an Undisclosed Location?

Leo Apotheker, then CEO of German software company SAP, is seen during the annual financial statement in Frankfurt, Germany. Hewlett-Packard on Thursday, Sept. 30 2010 named Apotheker as its new CEO. (AP Photo, Daniel Roland)

Larry Ellison is dying to force Leo Apotheker to testify in the Oracle-SAP trial, but HP's CEO is nowhere to be found.

There's no lost love between these two companies and the last thing Hewlett-Packard wants is for its newly-appointed CEO - and, coincidentally, former SAP boss - to get smacked around by a Oracle hostile attorney. Oracle claims that SAP plundered password-protected Oracle websites, dealing it a $2 billion blow. (SAP has already announced that it won't contest allegations that it contributed to copyright infringement via a defunct third-party support unit TomorrowNow.)

Ellison would like nothing more than to give his attorneys a shot at Apotheker. When HP hired Apotheker, Ellison publicly ridiculed the appointment, writing to the Wall Street Journal that he was "speechless" after learning of the decision. "HP had several good internal candidates," he wrote. "But instead they pick a guy who was recently fired because he did such a bad job of running SAP."

So is it any surprise that Apotheker is not to be found? According to a statement put out by Oracle:

Leo Apotheker, newly named as Hewlett-Packard CEO (AP Photo, Daniel Roland)
Leo Apotheker, then CEO of German software company SAP, on Sept. 30 2010.

"Hewlett Packard has refused to accept service of a subpoena requiring Mr. Apotheker to testify about his role in SAP's illegal conduct," the company said. "Mr. Apotheker started work for HP on Monday, but it now appears that the HP Board of Directors has decided to keep him away from HP's headquarters and outside the court's jurisdiction."

Not to be deterred, Oracle says its battalions of subpoena servers intend to get their man.

"We will continue to try to serve him," says Oracle.

Don't hold your breath, counters HP.

"Oracle had ample opportunity to question Leo during his sworn deposition in October 2008 and chose not to include him as a live trial witness until he was named CEO of HP," an HP spokesperson said in a statement. "Given Leo's limited knowledge of and role in the matter, Oracle's last-minute effort to require him to appear live at trial is no more than an effort to harass him and interfere with his duties and responsibilities as HP's CEO."