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HP sues Oracle over development on Itanium

HP's lawsuit against Oracle claims that Oracle's decision to stop development on Itanium platforms violated an implied contract between the two.

Hewlett-Packard has sued Oracle over Oracle’s decision to stop development support on Intel Itanium platforms, saying the company has gone from “arm-in-arm” partner to “bitter antagonist” in eight months.

The 26-page lawsuit, filed yesterday in California State Supreme Court in Santa Clara County, claims that, among other things, Oracle is using “strong-arm tactics to coerce customers into replacing their HP servers with Sun servers they do not want…” The lawsuit follows a letter HP sent to Oracle last week demanding that Oracle reverse its decision to stop support on Itanium-based platforms. HP is the biggest provider of Itanium-based servers with its Integrity line of hardware.

The lawsuit, much of which is redacted, claims that Oracle acted “in clear violation of its commitments to HP.” Oracle responded with a statement last night refuting HP’s claims.

“It just takes a few minutes to read the early drafts of the agreement to prove that HP’s claim is not true,” the statement reads. “What is true is that HP explicitly asked Oracle to guarantee continued support for Itanium; but Oracle refused, and HP’s Itanium support guarantee wording was deleted from the final signed agreement.”

The statement also says that the lawsuit will reveal that HP knew Intel was killing the Itanium chip. Both HP and Intel have denied that the Itanium chip is nearing end-of-life.

Some of the claims by HP:

  • Oracle has refused to fix “critical bugs” in existing software running on Itanium platforms, demanding that customers upgrade their software, which won’t run on Itanium. In addition, Oracle has offered steep discounts on Sun servers to these customers in a gambit to pull them away from HP hardware.

    “In essence, through this process Oracle renders customers’ existing Itanium hardware unusable with Oracle’s software by refusing to fix bugs in the software they are currently running, forcing customers instead to buy new software that Oracle says will not run on Itanium servers, and then seeks to fill the artificially created demand for new server hardware by offering to provide its Sun server products at predatory prices,” the lawsuit reads.

  • In a letter last year that Oracle provided to HP for distribution to its customers, it reaffirmed its commitment to HP’s Integrity servers, saying that “Oracle looks forward to continuing to ship quality products for the Integrity platform.”

  • There was an “implied” contract between HP and Oracle that resulted from their partnership, a contract that was broken by Oracle.

    “As a result of Oracle’s failure to perform in accord with its promises, HP has suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable injury and significant damage,” the lawsuit reads.

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