HP, Oracle seek pretrial victories in Itanium battle

HP and Oracle both seek a pretrial win in the upcoming Itanium case, over whether Oracle can end its software support for the heavy-duty Intel chip.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

The spat between HP and Oracle continues, with both sides seeking a pretrial win in their ongoing battle over whether Oracle can legally end support for the Itanium server.

As a reminder: Oracle discontinued its support for Intel's heavy-duty Itanium chip, often used in datacenter servers, after it claimed it was near the end of its support life and Intel was shifting its focus on 32-bit processors instead. HP continues to use the chip in its high-end servers.

ZDNet's Jason Perlow during a Great Debate put it simply enough: "They need to finally bury the Itanium, because it's been an abysmal failure."

But Intel claimed this wasn't the case.

HP argued that the companies previously agreed support for Itanium would continue as part of a prior settlement. HP sued, and Oracle counter-sued, accusing HP of false advertising for failing to disclose the terms of its contract with Intel.

HP already called on the European regulatory superpowers to intervene in the dispute, asking for an antitrust inquiry that would force a fine onto Oracle up to 10 percent of its global annual turnover.

Oracle asked for a summary adjudication in the case, which is scheduled to go to trail on May 31.

The two companies no longer see eye-to-eye after a series of high-profile hirings and firings, which became personal in nature, as Intel stands in the middle with its technology under scrutiny.

Mark Hurd was sacked from HP and was quickly hired by Oracle, as Oracle's chief executive Larry Ellison criticising how HP handled the move, calling it the "the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago." HP filed a suit against Hurd for seemingly breaking trade secrets laws. HP hit back by hiring Leo Apotheker as its chief executive, and we all know how that turned out.

HP believes that the trade secret settlement in 2010 included provisions to ensure Oracle keeps porting its software to the Itanium platform, with Oracle denying this was the case.

"We don't believe, nor do we think HP really believes, that a settlement agreement relating to Mark Hurd's employment could possibly obligate Oracle to write new software for a platform that is clearly end of life," Oracle's counsel Dan Wall said in a statement. "We are pleased the Court now has the evidence needed to see HP's purported contract claims for what they are."

A hearing on the two companies' request is scheduled for April 30, a month before the trial is set to begin.


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