Oracle has filed a motion (PDF download) opposing H-P's request to seal records. It starts:
"This case is an abuse of the judicial process—a publicity stunt in a broader campaign to lay the blame on Oracle for the disruption that will occur when HP’s Itanium-based server business inevitably comes to an end. HP untenably has put itself and thousands of customers out on the end of a very long limb because HP, almost alone now, clings to a decades-old microprocessor architecture—Intel’s Itanium chip line—that has no future. Intel has wanted to discontinue Itanium production for years, and HP knows it. The performance advantage over Intel’s x86-based microprocessors that once justified Itanium is today effectively gone. But the end of Itanium is a business disaster for HP, which generates a large percentage of its overall profit from Itanium support agreements. So rather than telling its customers the truth about Intel’s plans for phasing out the Itanium platform, and helping those customers transition to Intel Xeon systems or other alternatives, HP perpetuates the myth that there is a long 10-year roadmap for Itanium development."
Thus starts the latest motion in the ongoing feud between Oracle and H-P over Oracle dropping development for the Itanium processor. It gets better (or worse depending on who you are):
"Now HP is suing Oracle for the temerity to tell customers the truth" and "It has engaged in a massive campaign to vilify Oracle for this announcement, planting anti-Oracle stories in the press and setting up a web page with propaganda that attempts to make Oracle the villain for allegedly discontinuing Itanium support."
I have seen some of those 'planted' stories and felt that H-P was treading a dangerous path given the tenacity of Oracle's legal department at sniffing out anything with a whiff of BS.
The substance of Oracle's claim is that there is no legally binding partnership with H-P to continue Itanium development. In doing so, it throws everything but the kitchen sink at H-P in an effort to paint a picture of a hard done by former partner.
It expresses Larry Ellison, CEO Oracle's 'displeasure' at Mark Hurd's ouster. It refers to Ray Lane, H-P non-executive chairman as a 'disgruntled former Oracle executive.' And as for the appointment of Léo Apotheker, former CEO SAP to the CEO spot at H-P? "...short of burning an Oracle flag in public, HP could not have done more to destroy any so-called “partnership” with Oracle than it did by hiring Le?o Apotheker." And then of course the $1.3 billion jury settlement against SAP in Oracle's favor was included.
The only other place I have seen such invective is in divorce case papers.
It will be interesting to see what Bill Wohl, H-P's communications chief has up his sleeve by way of response. Whichever way this case goes, Oracle has made crystal clear that it sees itself in a bitter fight with H-P the prize for which is obvious: Oracle Exadata.
These kinds of filing provide insights into a company's psyche that are not lost on customers. While I cannot comment on the merits of Oracle's argument, its use of language leaves nothing to the imagination. It sounds like a ferocious animal baying for blood. Is that the image Oracle wants to portray? As someone said to me today: it isn't what's said but the way it is said.
But more to the point, does H-P really need this kind of distraction when there are other assets it could exploit in the market?
Image extracted from Laughing Squid