Users hope SAP's admission that it inappropriately downloaded proprietary Oracle documents won't hurt the vendor in the long run.

Customers this week said they hope the company's admission of "inappropriate downloads" of content from Oracle databases will force the two firms into settlement talks.

SAP admitted last week that its TomorrowNow subsidiary downloaded Oracle-owned data, but claimed that SAP personnel did not access it.

SAP was responding to a March lawsuit by Oracle alleging that TomorrowNow staffers hacked an Oracle support website and downloaded vast amounts of content in an effort to provide cut-rate support to Oracle customers.

SAP CEO Henning Kagermann said in a statement that the company is now open to a settlement with Oracle, which had charged SAP with "corporate theft on a grand scale."

SAP user Rodney Masney, global director of IT infrastructure services at Owens-Illinois, said he doesn't expect the admission to damage SAP's business. "I believe this will blow over," he said.

Masney, also president of the Americas' SAP User Group , said that Kagermann offered assurances during a telephone conversation that an internal investigation is continuing and that "appropriate action" would be taken if theft is discovered.

According to Masney, Kagermann acknowledged that "there were perhaps some procedures not followed, and that significantly increased the amount of data downloaded."

Jason Lachance, manager of business analytics at LSI Logic, a maker of semiconductor storage systems and software in Colorado Springs, noted that "SAP seems to be taking the right approach in admitting fault where they believe it lies."

Lachance said Oracle is entitled to damages if its accusations prove to be true, but he hopes the two companies can reach a settlement. "Software giants battling in the courts and press won't lead to better ERP systems," he said.