HP sends demand letter to Oracle over Itanium

HP is demanding that Oracle reverse its decision to stop development of Oracle on Itanium platforms, saying Oracle is contractually obligated to do so.

HP has sent Oracle a letter demanding  it reverse its decision to stop development support for customers running Oracle on HP’s Intel Itanium-based platforms.

“HP believes that Oracle’s March 22 statement to discontinue all future software development on the Itanium platform violates legally-binding commitments Oracle has made to HP and the more than 140,000 shared HP-Oracle customers,” the HP statement reads.

An HP spokesperson would not release the demand letter or say how long it was. She added that HP is also demanding that Oracle revert to its pre-Dec. 1 processor core factor table for Itanium systems. Prior to that date, the core factor for Itanium systems was 0.5; afterward, it was 1.0. The change essentially made it more expensive to license Oracle on Itanium systems.

An Oracle spokesperson declined to comment.

Dan Olds, an analyst with Gabriel Consulting Group, said he couldn’t imagine that HP would send the letter if “there wasn’t some sort of basis for it.”

Olds said it may seem odd that it took HP five weeks after Oracle’s announcement to send the letter, but there could have been reasons for the wait.

“They’re probably making sure that they’re on solid legal footing, making sure they have all their i’s dotted and their t’s crossed,” he said. “Also, maybe they had tried to negotiate this on the backend and those negotiations broke off.”

HP added in its statement that it believes the Oracle decision is “an unlawful attempt to force customers from HP Itanium platforms to Oracle’s own platforms.”

The battle between the two technology giants started last year, when then-HP CEO Mark Hurd resigned after an internal investigation revealed he had fudged some expense accounts. Shortly after, Oracle CEO Lawrence Ellison hired Hurd as co-president of Oracle. Meanwhile, the war of words between the two companies commenced.

Then in March, Oracle said it was going to stop all development for Oracle on Itanium platforms, claiming that Intel was killing the Itanium chip. Both HP and Intel denied the claim. A survey shortly after revealed that by and large, Oracle customers were not pleased with the Itanium announcement.

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