HP Enterprise takes Oracle to court, demands $3B

HPE is claiming it lost billions in business after Oracle dropped its support for the poor-performing Itanium chip.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Just a week after losing a major legal battle with Google, Oracle is back in court. This time, the software giant is fending off HP Enterprise's demand for $3 billion in damages for Oracle's lack of support for the Itanium chip.

HP and Intel first released the Itanium in 2001. The IA-64 chip performed so poorly that it earned the nickname the "Itanic." Vendors including Dell and IBM briefly sold Itanium-based systems but quickly discontinued them. Production of the Itanium chip marked the start of a downward turn for HP.

In spite of the Itanium's reputation, a 2010 settlement agreement between HP and Oracle obligated Oracle to offer its products on HP's Itanium-based server platforms until HP discontinued them. Yet not long after that, Oracle announced it would no longer support the Itanium platform because HP was planning to shut it down eventually.

Consequently, HP (which later split into HP and HP Enterprise) sued and won.

Four years later, HPE is now seeking damages in the case. In opening statements this week, HPE made the case that Oracle abandoned the Itanium platform shortly after acquiring Sun Microsystems, so it could steer more business to Sun.

"Oracle needs to be held accountable for its actions, which caused billions of dollars in damages to HP and significant uncertainty for our customers," Hewlett Packard Enterprise said in a statement, as USA Today reports.

Oracle, meanwhile, is arguing that it fulfilled its obligations to HP after the 2012 verdict when it announced it would support Itanium, as PC World notes. Oracle also argues that HPE is now putting forward "eleventh-hour theories of liability."

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