HP vs. Oracle: Side of drama thrown out in fight over Itanium chip

A couple of developments in the ongoing battle between Silicon Valley tech giants Oracle and Hewlett-Packard, via a ruling Monday by a state judge in San Jose:

First, the side of drama: Judge James Kleinberg threw out a fraud lawsuit brought by Oracle against HP, according to Reuters. Oracle claims that HP hid its plans to hire CEO Leo Apotheker (who has since been fired and replaced by Meg Whitman) and bring in Ray Lane as chairman of the board, saying Oracle never would have agreed to a settlement over its hiring of former HP CEO Mark Hurd if it had known that information. (Apotheker was former CEO of SAP, a bitter Oracle rival; Lane is a former Oracle executive.)

Oracle brought the fraud suit after HP sued the Redwood City company over its announcement last year that it would stop supporting software for computer servers running Itanium because it had learned the Intel chip was nearing its “end of life,” or soon to be discontinued. HP said Oracle’s decision was a breach of contract and would affect 140,000 of its customers; Oracle said HP was aware of its plans.  (See Fighting words: HP vs. Oracle…)

The judge also refused both companies’ bids to keep documents sealed in the case, according to Bloomberg. The Wall Street Journal broke out some numbers from Oracle’s unsealed court filing: HP supposedly paid a total of $690 million between 2008 and 2010 for Intel to develop Itanium for HP’s high-end servers. Oracle says Intel would have stopped development of Itanium if HP hadn’t shelled out the cash for it. HP has said Oracle made up the controversy so it could promote its competing products. For its part, Intel has maintained that it remains committed to Itanium.

The animosity between the two companies — longtime business partners whose relationship was complicated by Oracle’s purchase of Sun Microsystems — heated up after Oracle CEO Larry Ellison criticized HP for pushing out Hurd in 2010 after a sexual-harassment investigation in which he was cleared of wrongdoing. Ellison then hired Hurd to be co-president of Oracle. Since then, the two companies have traded barbs and lawsuits over everything from Apotheker’s hiring to HP’s purchase of Autonomy to the cloud. (See Is the proof in the PowerPoint? Oracle vs. HP — and Autonomy.)



Share this Post

  • sd

    Worse than little kids….