HP Itanium secrecy cost us $95 million, Oracle says

HP Itanium secrecy cost us $95 million, Oracle says

Summary: Oracle's testimony in the court case starting next month against HP claims that the firm lost $95 million in profits due to misled IT buyers.


Hewlett-Packard's behaviour towards IT purchasers was "misleading" and robbed rivals of potential sales worth $95 million, according to Oracle.

Computerworld reports that in a court case due to start next month, Oracle plans to testify within a Santa Clara County Superior Court that HP's secrecy over phasing out the Itanium platform was anti-competitive and resulted in a loss of sales.

HP and Oracle presented their key witnesses on Monday before Judge James Kleinberg, who has the power to stop the witnesses testifying before the trial begins on April 8.

HP filed a suit against Oracle in June 2011, alleging that its sales were damaged once Oracle stopped porting over software to the Itanium platform. After placing a witness on the stand who said Oracle cost HP roughly $4 billion in potential sales, HP won the case, and Oracle was ordered to resume developing software once more.

It is expected that HP is aiming for compensation of $4 billion.

However, Oracle then filed a counterclaim against the PC maker, saying that HP concealed the fact it was gradually turning away from the Itanium platform -- which impacted the sales of Oracle as a major developer of Itanium software.

Economist Ramsey Shehadeh of National Economic Research Associates estimated that after HP released allegedly "false and misleading statements" over Itanium's future in 2008, if HP had told the "truth," then competitors would not have lost out on the sales of high-end server platforms. Shehadeh pegged Oracle's losses at approximately $95 million.

The publication says that both companies attacked the other's key witnesses before the judge. Oracle attorney Daniel Wall argued that HP's witness ignored factors that could have altered Itanium sales, and HP's Robert Frank said that there was no factual basis to suggest HP deliberately hid information concerning the platform.

Earlier this month, Oracle acquired private cloud software startup Nimbula, the firm's portfolio likely to be embedded within the Oracle Private Cloud. Financial details were not disclosed but the deal is expected to reach completion before June this year.

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Oracle

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Split the Difference

    Oracle still owes HP $3.905 billion.
  • WHAT?!?

    "HP filed a suit against Oracle in June 2011, alleging that its sales were damaged once Oracle stopped porting over software to the Itanium platform."

    So one company can basically strong-arm another one into supporting its hardware? That's absurd. No company should be obligated to support any particular platform. That case should have been thrown out from the start.
    • If they signed a legal contract yes

      HP filed after Oracle breached a contract saying they would develop and support the Itanium platform. If memory serves the contact was until 2015
  • Oracle entered into the agreement as did Intel

    Superior Court of California dismissed Oracle's claim on August 1, 2012

    The Settlement and Release Agreement entered into by HP and Oracle in September 2010 required Oracle to continue to offer its product suite on HP’s Itanium-based server platforms and didn't permit Oracle to decide on its own whether to do so or not.
    That agreement also pertains to any Oracle software products that were offered on HP’s Itanium-based servers at the time the deal was signed.
    Thus, Oracle was required to continue to offer its products on HP’s Itanium-based server platforms until HP discontinued sales of Itanium-based servers.
    Oracle was required to port its products to HP’s Itanium-based servers without charge to HP.

    In 2008, HP agreed to pay Intel $440 million dollars over five years — between 2009 and 2014 — to keep producing the Itanium chips. Then in 2010, the two companies signed another $250 million deal that would keep Itanium support through 2017.
  • This Doesn't Make Sense

    Don't all hardware manufacturers support all processor platforms forever?
    • Forever, like forever ever

      Only in your dreams of Utopia. Who still supports the original 8086 chip these days?