Oracle to continue Itanium support for HP after court ruling

Summary:Technology giant Oracle will continue to build software for Intel's heavy-duty Itanium chip after HP won a court case forcing the company to adhere to its prior agreements.

After a lengthy and bitter legal battle, Oracle said today it will continue to support HP's Itanium-based servers, more than a year after the technology giant said it would cease support for the ailing platform. 

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Credit: James Martin/CNET

HP prevailed its legal challenge on August 1 after Oracle said it would no longer support its software built the Intel-built server processor because Intel was planning to no longer support the platform in the long run, despite the chip-maker's courtroom denial.

In a statement today, Oracle said it was backtracking on its move to stop developing new versions of its software for the chip after "a judge recently ruled that Oracle has a contract to continue porting its software to Itanium computers for as long as HP sells Itanium computers."

"Oracle will continue building the latest versions of its database and other software covered by the judge's ruling to HP Itanium computers. Oracle software on HP's Itanium computers will be released on approximately the same schedule as Oracle software on IBM's Power systems," the firm said in a statement.

Both firms, who remain at loggerheads, share about 140,000 mutual customers, but their relationship turned bitter after Oracle's buy-out of Sun Microsystems in 2009. In doing so, it jumped into the server hardware sector and would begin rivalling its old friendly neighbor, HP.

Oracle said that there was no contract with HP that required the firm to continue supporting Itanium chips. HP wanted to continue using the heavy-duty chip, often used in datacenters, in its high-end servers despite Intel shifting focus to 32-bit processors. 

During the trial, Oracle was first to release a slew of documents for customers to "make [your] own decision" on the case. HP fired back with its own cache of documents, such as instant messages and emails from Oracle staff and executives. 

In one HP-released document, former Oracle sales executive Keith Block -- who resigned a fortnight before the trial ended -- called Sun's hardware a "pig with lipstick." 

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Legal, Oracle, Servers

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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