Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

Summary: Oracle maintains that it would have never supported HP's Itanium servers if it knew Leo Apotheker and Ray Lane were being hired.


Oracle filed a cross complaint against HP in the ongoing court battle over support for Intel's Itanium platform.

In June, HP filed a civil lawsuit in the Superior Court of California in Santa Clara to force Oracle to support the Itanium platform. In March, Oracle said that it would stop supporting HP’s Itanium platform because Intel planned to shut it down in the long run. HP and Intel both denied Oracle’s claims. The two parties last month exchanged courtroom jabs over Itanium support. In the meantime, HP's high end server business is getting whacked. HP CEO Leo Apotheker noted on the company's latest conference call that Oracle's moves have frozen sales.

In the lawsuit, HP has done most of the talking---until today. Oracle blasted HP. The short version:

  • HP and Oracle issued a press release emphasizing that the two companies would work together and the database and application giant supported Itanium.
  • That press release arrived with news that HP and former CEO Mark Hurd settled a lawsuit.
  • However, Oracle didn't know that HP was about to hire Apotheker, a move that would have scuttled a deal. It didn't help that HP made Ray Lane, former operating chief at Oracle, chairman of the board.
  • Add it up and HP allegedly used fraudulent means to procure its Itanium deal.

Among the choice quotes from the complaint via AllThingsD:

This Cross-Complaint arises out of HP’s efforts to induce Oracle into an apparently perpetual and cost-free software development commitment for the Intel Itanium platform, supposedly implicit in a public reaffirmation of a colloquial “partnership,” while HP concealed that it was days away from hiring a new board chairman, Ray Lane, and new CEO, Léo Apotheker, who HP knew Oracle distrusted so completely—and justifiably—that “partnership” would be impossible. It also arises from HP’s numerous acts of disparagement and libel when, in March 2011, Oracle announced that—like most other major software vendors before it—it was discontinuing all new software development on the Intel Itanium platform. Subsequent to that announcement, HP has, among other things, falsely blamed Oracle for Itanium’s demise and the disruption to customers that unavoidably will occur when customers eventually migrate to newer platforms, and falsely claimed that Oracle has refused to provide ongoing software support and bug-fixes for Oracle’s current customers.

This meritless litigation further damaged HP’s relationship with Oracle. As Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison stated at the time: “Oracle has long viewed HP as an important partner . . . . By filing this vindictive lawsuit . . . the HP board is acting with utter disregard for that partnership, our joint customers, and their own shareholders and employees. The HP Board is making it virtually impossible for Oracle and HP to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace.”

Léo Apotheker had previously been the CEO of Oracle’s biggest applications software competitor, SAP AG. Mr. Apotheker knew next to nothing about HP’s core businesses, so the only logical explanation for his hiring, now affirmed by HP’s recent business announcements, was that HP wanted to change direction and become more of an enterprise software company like IBM or Oracle. HP knew that Mr. Apothecary’s software background would signal to Oracle that the old relationship based on complementary interests was over. But even more importantly, HP knew that Oracle held Mr. Apotheker personally responsible for the widespread theft of Oracle’s intellectual property by an SAP subsidiary—an admitted and long-lasting theft that resulted in a $1.3 billion jury verdict against SAP in November 2010.

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Hardware, Oracle, Processors

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  • Zombie management

    I don't suppose there's any chance that Bill and Dave will come back from the dead.

    Too bad, because the current board seems bound and determined to put the company in the cemetery with them.
    Robert Hahn
    • Agree

      @Robert Hahn ... I don't know what Lane and Apotheker are still doing there. They should have handed in their resignations the day after the stock dropped 30 percent.
    • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

      @Robert Hahn I really feel sad for Bill and Dave. They created a great company full of hearts and spirits for the society, the technology community, and its employees. All these were now destroyed, almost completely, by succession of boards for at least the past 10 years.
  • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

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  • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

    I don't care for Oracle and Ellison's high-handed ways, but they have a real point: HP is no friend to Oracle. Apotheker and Lane are total disasters, and it seems like the only thing HP is doing is hiring retreads from Oracle and IBM in the hopes that one of them will have the "magic secret" on how to be an enterprise services company instead of a lowly PC peddler.
    terry flores
  • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

    This is really all about pushing the x86/x64 "monoculture" to its limits and killing off all but one or two of the remaining RISC architectures. Steve Jobs killed the PowerPC, now Larry Ellison is out to kill the Itanium. Ironically Itanium is made by Intel, so now Oracle has become an even bigger promoter of x86 than its architect. For some reason these folks like to consolidate everything into a single, boring architecture, slowing down innovation and progress.
    • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

      How did Steve Jobs kill the PowerPC? The market killed the PowerPC.
      • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

        @dhmccoy Trying to revise history, are you? The historical facts are different. Steve Jobs made the "Macintel" announcement in 2005. It ment Apple would not only make Macs with x86 cpus but immediately and abruptly stop making any PowerPC Mac, and phase out support for PowerPC Macs with incredible speed - so fast that today, you can't even get MacOS 10.6 with a new JDK on the PPC. Before this announcement, Apple had promoted the PPC due to its faster performance. Apple had just made the transition to 64bit computing with the G5 PPC. IBM had offered their best technology at the lowest price to Apple, mainstream versions of the Power6 cpu and Power7 cpu and so on. So what happened? The inofficial story goes that Apple was becoming increasingly successful in the mobile devices market with the iPod, while desktops and notebooks were deemphasized. To stay ahead of the iPod competition, Steve Jobs made a secret deal with Intel to be the first to get higher capacity flash storage chips when they become available. 64GB, 80GB and so on. It worked Apple beat the competition with the iPod and then morphed it into the iPhone. Trouble is, Apple "sold its soul" to do it, killed diversity in the desktop/notebook market and strengthened the x86/x64 monopoly.
    • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

      The Power chip is dead?
  • Larry Ellison needs to grow up.

    This childish temper tantrum is hurting his customers who are running Oracle software on HP hardware. I'm the DBA and I'm now recommending SQL Server for all new projects.
    • Consider Sybase!

      @GrumpyOldMan - Instead of going the MS route, consider looking into Sybase. They have a smaller version that's about on par with MS SQL Server, and a big brother that's more like Oracle.
    • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

      @GrumpyOldMan: Why in the WORLD would you recommend SQL Server? It only runs on one single platform -- Winblows -- and is nowhere near true Enterprise quality, no matter what their marketing machine touts. Oracle, DB2, and Sybase would be the logical choices for true, 24x365 operations.
      I will agree with @Spikey_Mike that Sybase would be the way to go if you don't want to do Oracle or DB2. It's where MickeySoft got the code to make SQL Server, and is far more reliable than the MS junk, not to mention it runs on more than just the Winblows attempt at a real OS.
      • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

        @jkotan Take a good look at PostgreSQL. It's more than up to the challenge of replacing Oracle for an enterprise. My company even has tools for converting Oracle stored procedures.
  • In Reality.. I think Oracle has lost too many devs, and Java is a dead end

    I think Java is slowly dying at the hands of Larry Ellison.. The guys that developed it, and innovated it, are not on project any more. There's no way their existing developers can keep up with low market CPU design and improvements (RISC/i64) regardless of processor superiority. I call this phase 'CTD' (Circleing the Drain). Java Platforms are so bad now, that there is no backwards compatibilty between releases.. It's horrible now.

    This is just Sun's way of saying 'we're only going to support it on consumer based systems (x86/64/??ARM??) because thats where we get royalties and lawsuit money from'. Nobody is building on i64 anymore. And I haven't seen any innovation on Java in years.

    With regards to HP.. I don't know what they're thinking. They've destroyed their business computers (laptops and desktops) Their Compaq Servers are really the only thing I'll buy from that company, only because Dell Raid sucks. Software services... If they try to become an IBM, I'd actually buy IBM First.. Websphere is truely advanced.. unless HP is on a 30 year plan to be the next IBM, they're joining that race a little late. I don't think HP has the cash to change business plans when the rest of their product offering is Crumbling... WebOS touchpads, handhelds, laptops, etc.

    @davebarnes With regards to the PowerPC / RISC chips. Glad to see them still around, but what systems are they going into?
    • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words


      IBMs mid range (they consider x86 low and mainframe high) server line runs on Power
      • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

        @the.nameless.drifter Thanks.
    • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

      @Doc_Nasty I help manage a development center for a consulting company. Java engagements have gone to zero for the last 6 months, .Net engagements are through the roof. The Evil Empire has effectively killed Java; no one trusts Oracle to manage one wants to be hit with millions of dollars in licensing costs when Oracle starts charging for Java, and no one wants to get sued by Oracle for whatever reason. No one is willing to use Java for mission critical software projects anymore. At least with Microsoft, you know what you are getting: consistent greed, but they are upfront with it from the beginning. If you are using .Net, you've already built the costs of doing business with Microsoft into your operating budget.
  • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

    "HP knew that Mr. Apothecary?s software background"

    Autocorrect fail. Proof read fail. If you write for a living you should at least get the name of one of the major players in your story correct.
    • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

      @tcahill2@... I read this as a little joke.. an apothecary being a person who prepared and sold drugs to cure maladies.. quite funny, really.
    • RE: Oracle fires back at HP in Itanium suit, doesn't mince words

      You believe this was an accidental error?