Hewlett-Packard Co. has accused a former employee of sabotaging benchmark tests on its top Unix server, the Superdome, resulting in lower scores that may have undermined sales of its most expensive hardware.
HP made the allegations in a lawsuit it filed against the employee in U.S. District Court, in San Jose, Calif.
According to the suit, an employee fired last month by the company had tampered with computer disks and cut wiring in Superdome servers prior to benchmark testing conducted in association with the Transaction Processing Performance Council, an industry group that oversees performance audits.
Although HP didnt specify how much it believes the systems performance was hampered, the company contends that accurate benchmarks would have shown the Superdome delivering "industry-leading results."
In the lawsuit, HP said its engineers began to suspect that someone was tampering with its machines early this year after several "unusual and unexplained failures" were noted involving servers used for benchmark testing.
HPs Superdome, unveiled in September 2000, is a 64-processor Unix server designed to compete against the top performing servers from Sun Microsystems and IBM. The systems, which can cost several million dollars depending on their configuration, are used to handle massive amounts of simultaneous transactions, making them well-suited for Internet-tied business.
HP is seeking unspecified damages against the former employee, Hock-Beng Lim, including any profits the worker may have made by undermining HPs sales efforts.
Efforts to reach Lim for comment were unsuccessful.
HP spokesman David Berman also declined to discuss details of the litigation, other than to say it was filed Oct. 30.