Judge rejects Oracle fraud claim against HP

A court has thrown out Oracle's claim that HP was fraudulent in its dealings with the company over Itanium and the hiring of ex-CEO Mark Hurd's replacements. HP argued that the ruling undermines Oracle's defence.

A court has thrown out Oracle's claim that HP was fraudulent in its dealings with the company over Itanium and the hiring of ex-CEO Mark Hurd's replacements. HP argued that the ruling undermines Oracle's defence.

The Superior Court in Santa Clara rejected Oracle's claim on Monday, adding more drama to a struggle that has wound its way through the US legal system since early 2011. The dispute was triggered by Oracle announcing in March that it would no longer support the Itanium processor, causing HP to sue the database vendor in June.

"This [ruling] further demonstrates the fact that Oracle breached its contractual commitment to HP and ignored its repeated promises of support to our shared customers," HP said in a statement on Monday. "We look forward to seeing the facts made public that demonstrate how Oracle's March 2011 announcement to no longer develop software for Itanium servers was part of a calculated business strategy to drive hardware sales from Itanium to inferior Sun servers."

Oracle had argued that its contractual obligations to support Itanium were void due to allegedly fraudulent behaviour by HP. It alleged the company had conducted secret talks and paid money to chipmaker Intel to keep the Itanium processor alive. It also alleged that while HP and Oracle hammered out the legal details of how former HP-CEO Mark Hurd could work for Oracle, HP set about hiring executives — Leo Apotheker and Ray Lane — that would set it on a collision course with the company.

The dispute arose a year after Oracle closed its acquisition of Sun Microsystems — a move that saw the company gain a hardware division that put it into direct competition with HP.

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