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The HP/Oracle Itanium spat grows ever more pedantic

by Scott Bicheno on 8 July 2011, 15:23

Tags: Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL)

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Legal wrangling

It's been nearly a month since we caught up with the prolonged legal aggro between former enterprise computing chums HP and Oracle. Last we heard HP had filed a lawsuit against Oracle for ending its support of servers based on Intel's Itanium chips. Oracle termed this action ‘malicious' and maintained that Intel is phasing out the chips, despite Intel and HP protestations to the contrary.

At the end of last month Oracle published a court filing opposing an HP motion to keep certain documents confidential, despite the fact that they contain evidence of Oracle's alleged commitment to support Itanium.

When Oracle and HP settled the litigation surrounding former CEO Mark Hurd leaving HP and then subsequently joining Oracle, the announcement featured a so-called ‘corporate hug' that reaffirmed the desire of the two companies to work together. This is apparently being used as a contract by HP in evidence for this case, which seems a bit thin.

As this statement was part of the Hurd settlement, Oracle wants HP to make the whole settlement public, which it presumably knows HP is reluctant to do for whatever reason. Oracle's latest filing attacks HP's motion to keep these documents sealed, and takes the opportunity to have a general dig at HP at the same time.

Among the Oracle claims, which you can read in full here, are:

  • HP is just trying to protect its lucrative Itanium support business
  • Itanium doesn't have a future
  • The ‘corporate hug' is in no way a contract, and there isn't any other contract
  • HP is guilty of ‘McCarthyism', by claiming a contract but refusing to show it
  • So please deny the motion

HP shared its response to this with some US journos yesterday, including ZDNet. It seems to agreed that everything should be out in the open, except some things. Oracle replied that there should be no exceptions. HP said there are some mutual confidentiality agreements that are still in place for both parties.

What a mess. HP's case doesn't seem to be very strong anyway, if the only agreement between the two is that vague statement in the ‘corporate hug' press release. But Oracle has clearly identified the full disclosure of the Hurd settlement as an Achilles Heel for HP, and seems to be betting that HP would rather drop the case than do so.


HEXUS Forums :: 2 Comments

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talk about crying over spilled milk..
talk about crying over spilled milk..
No it isn't! :p Itanium gear is a large portion of HP's server lines, (excluding the ProLiant gear that they inherited from Compaq), so it's totally understandable that they'd fight tooth and nail to protect it. Heck, if they didn't then there'd be a lot of questions asked! Remember that HP/UX and OpenVMS are Itanium only, so if you take them out of the picture then really HP can only push Windows and Linux gear, (which substantially means ProLiant then).

From what I understand this “no DB support for Itanium” move came shortly after the “no DB support for HP/UX” and before the “no DB support for Linux - unless you're running Oracle's version”. So an even-handed person can probably see why HP feels a little put upon. :(

A cynic might argue that this smells a little like revenge on his old employer after Mark Turd got ejected (with a bonus etc intact) for various misdemeanour's.
Oracle termed this action ‘malicious' and maintained that Intel is phasing out the chips, despite Intel and HP protestations to the contrary
There's the bit I don't understand - here's Oracle saying that Itanium is dead (and by the way, it's a good opportunity for you to move to our hardware), but Intel are refuting this. So are Oracle saying that Intel don't know (or won't admit) to what they're doing with their own product line? … Or are Oracle telling blatant untruths? :shocked2:

As you can probably tell, I'm not a big fan of the way that Oracle do business - certainly don't like what they did to Solaris, OpenSolaris, OpenOffice, Java, etc.