HP is suing Oracle over its decision to end support for Intel's Itanium platform, saying the move breached a contract between the two.
rapidly disintegrating relationship with Oracle is threatening to spill over
into the courtroom again, now that HP is suing the software giant over its
abandonment of Intel's Itanium processor platform.
A week after
HP officials sent a "demand letter"
to Oracle essentially
warning of a lawsuit over the issue, they followed through June 15 by filing
suit in California, claiming Oracle breached an agreement with HP to work
together for the benefit of their many mutual customers.
also reiterated their claim that Oracle's decision in March to no longer
develop software that supports Itanium is nothing more than a transparent ploy
to force Oracle customers to adopt its own SPARC hardware, which Oracle
inherited when it bought Sun Microsystems last year. HP also aired new
allegations of Oracle misdeeds.
executives had said their decision was based on conversations with Intel
engineers that indicated that Intel was planning to end Itanium development to
focus on its Xeon processors. In a response
to the lawsuit
released June 15, Oracle officials reiterated their
belief that Intel is ending Itanium development, and further accused HP of
knowing about these end-of-life plans.
They also said
while HP asked for guaranteed Itanium support from Oracle as part of an
agreement between the two companies, Oracle refused. "HP's Itanium support
guarantee wording was deleted from the final signed agreement," Oracle said in
The lawsuit is
the latest step in what's become an increasingly bitter and personal feud
between the once strong partners. Oracle's purchase of Sun-including the SPARC
hardware business-put it in direct competition with HP in the data center. HP
then forced its CEO, Mark Hurd, to resign, only to be publically ridiculed by
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who a month later hired Hurd as president. HP
replaced Hurd with Leo Apotheker, the former CEO of Oracle software rival SAP,
which also has its legal entanglements with Oracle.
Now comes the
Itanium issue. Intel executives, including CEO Paul Otellini, have disputed
Oracle's contention, saying they have a strong roadmap for Itanium, including a
new architecture that will keep the platform moving well into 2015. HP accused
Oracle of using Itanium to prop up its struggling SPARC hardware business, and
in the lawsuit, claims that Oracle has refused to fix "critical bugs" in
Itanium. That, combined with new Oracle software that doesn't support Itanium
and low-price deals on SPARC systems for customers who migrate to the Oracle
systems, are key points in HP's lawsuit.
It feeds into
HP's ongoing claims that Oracle's move is designed more to force users to move
onto Oracle hardware and less about what's best for the customers, many of whom
currently run their Oracle software on Itanium-based Integrity and NonStop
systems from HP, which is, by far, the largest user of Itanium chips. HP
estimates that the two companies share about 140,000 customers.
HP over the
past few months has worked to get channel partners and customers to put pressure on Oracle
statement, Oracle officials claim it's HP that hasn't been honest with
customers, saying that HP has known since September 2010 that Intel was ending
the Itanium platform.
that HP specifically asked Oracle to guarantee long-term support for Itanium
in the September of 2010 agreement because HP already knew all about
Intel's plans to discontinue Itanium, and HP was concerned about what would
happen when Oracle found out about that plan," Oracle said in the statement.
"Knowing this, HP issued numerous public statements in an attempt to mislead
and deceive their customers and shareholders into believing that these plans to
end-of-life Itanium do not exist.
But they do. Intel's
plans to end-of-life Itanium will be revealed in court now that
HP has filed this utterly malicious and meritless lawsuit against Oracle."