Waste Management Now Demanding $500 Million From SAP

The stakes have gotten higher in the lawsuit brought by Waste Management against SAP in March 2008 over an allegedly failed ERP (enterprise resource planning) project.

Waste Management initially said it was seeking damages of more than US$100 million. But the trash hauler is now demanding more than $500 million, according to a filing this month by SAP attorneys in the District Court of Harris County, Texas.

In an earlier filing, Waste Management said its out-of-pocket expenses on the project exceeded $80 million, and that it also wanted some $350 million in damages for the benefits it would have gained "had SAP's software performed as represented and in accordance with SAP's contractual obligations."

SAP used "fake" and "rigged" software demonstrations to convince Waste Management its products were a good fit, according to the trash hauler. But after years of work and great expense, the product did not work satisfactorily, Waste Management claims.

But SAP has denied any wrongdoing and counters that Waste Management breached its contracts with SAP by failing to "timely and accurately define its business requirements" and provide "sufficient, knowledgeable, decision-empowered users and managers" to work on the implementation.

The two sides have been battling over evidence discovery for months, with each alleging the other is engaging in obstructionist behavior. The case is scheduled to go to trial in May.

The Waste Management suit is just one of the high-profile legal battles on SAP's plate. The vendor is also attempting to fend off an intellectual property suit brought against it in 2007 by rival Oracle, which has said its damages claims could top $1 billion.

Outside the courtroom, SAP is regrouping this week after a series of high-profile executive changes, including the replacement of CEO Léo Apotheker with executive board members Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott as co-CEOs. Co-founder Hasso Plattner has returned to a more public role and is pledging to revive innovation and morale at the company.

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