Quoted: on Itanium as ‘closely guarded’ HP secret

“The Itanium situation is one of our most closely guarded secrets.”

Martin Fink, head of HP’s high-end server business, in an email to another executive.  That email and other communications made public as part of a court fight between Hewlett-Packard and Oracle over the Intel chip show that HP hid the poor outlook for Itanium from its customers, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ashlee Vance reports. HP accuses the Redwood City company of breaching a contract to support software for the Itanium chip the Palo Alto company uses in some of its high-end servers. (See HP vs. Oracle…) Oracle announced last year it would stop supporting Itanium-based products, saying Intel had indicated the chip was nearing its “end of life,” or soon to be discontinued. But Intel has said it remains committed to Itanium. However, the documents examined by Bloomberg could be interpreted to mean otherwise: Intel CEO Paul Otellini wrote to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison: “You asked me a confidential question and I gave you an [sic] confidential answer. It was this breach that bothers me most.” Otellini is on the witness list for the trial, which is likely to begin late this month or early next month, according to Wired. In a separate Bloomberg report, Vance writes that other court documents show HP considered buying Sun Microsystems partly because its technology “was seen as particularly appealing to boost an exit plan from Itanium that HP was secretly considering.” Oracle, of course, ended up buying Sun.


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