In closing arguments, HP asks the court to force Oracle to continue supporting the Intel chip platform, while an Oracle lawyer denies there was any contract in place.
Hewlett-Packard and Oracle will find out sometime after mid-July whether
there is a contract between the two tech giants regarding Intel's Itanium
The decision by Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg will end
the first phase of the lawsuit
between HP and Oracle
which began June 4and will set the stage for the
second one. Essentially, if Kleinberg agrees with HP's assertion that there was
a contract in place, then a jury will decide whether Oracle violated that
contract and how much in damages it should pay HP.
The court case is the result of Oracle's decision last year to no longer
develop software for the Itanium platform, on which HP has standardized its
high-end HP-UX systems. The decision and subsequent legal wrangling are part of
a large set of issues that has eroded what had once been a strong partnership
between the two companies.
Lawyers for both HP and Oracle gave their closing arguments before
Kleinberg, with each making now-familiar assertions. HP counsel Jeffrey Thomas
reportedly argued that wording in the 2010 settlement of a lawsuit over Oracle's
hiring of ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd is essentially a contract in which Oracle agreed
to continue to support HP products as it had before the legal dispute over
, Thomas told Kleinberg that "for years, Oracle led
HP to believe it would continue to make the products available," and that
after the rift between the companies over Hurd, "HP asked Oracle to put
those assurances in a binding contract," which Oracle agreed to.
"The negotiations are consistent with HP's interpretation and cannot be
squared with Oracle's," Thomas said, according
Oracle lawyer Dan Wall disagreed, arguing that there is no mention in the
Hurd settlement about future versions of software or in any of the reams of
documents submitted as evidence by HP.
"Oracle and HP don't have any such forward-porting agreement,"
Wall said, according to Bloomberg
. "HP never made any serious
effort to get one," relying instead on the lawsuit and a "skillful
use of e-emails and other documents to make it appear there was a porting
agreement that manifestly does not exist."
Kleinberg reportedly said he won't have a decision until mid-July at the
HP is looking for $4 billion in damages. The company, which by far is the
largest user of Itanium chips, has seen revenue for its Business Critical
Systems (BCS) groupwhich includes its Itanium-based
Integrity and NonStop systems
tumble since Oracle executives announced
their decision to no longer develop software for the Itanium platform. In the
first three months this year, the BCS group saw revenue drop 23 percent, with
HP executives putting much of the blame on Oracle's Itanium announcement.
Oracle officials said they made their decision after hearing from Intel
engineers that the giant chip maker was planning to end development of Itanium
in favor of its x86-based Xeon platform. In doing so, Oracle joined other
software makers, including Microsoft and Red Hat, in ending support for
However, both HP and Intel executives disputed Oracle's claims, saying that
the Itanium road map is laid out for most of the decade. HP officials have
argued that Oracle is using Itanium to try to drive HP server users to its own
systems based on the SPARC platform that Oracle inherited when it bought Sun
Stuck in the middle are the 140,000 or so joint customers, many of whom run
Oracle database or other enterprise software on HP Integrity servers. Oracle
officials, in countersuing HP, claimed that HP was not being honest with the
customers about Itanium's future or the fact that HP had paid Intel almost
$500,000 to keep Itanium development going.