HP Takes Legal Action Against Oracle

by HSG on Jun 13, 2012 in News

HP is taking legal action against Oracle for allegedly breaching its 2010 partnership agreement of porting HP’s core software products with the latest versions of Itanium. In March, Oracle announced it would not be developing any new versions for products designed for the Itanium processor. Itanium has the ability to power the so-called Business Critical Systems hardware for extremely demanding enterprise applications. However, Oracle said the chip line is about to die.

The companies’ lawyer met in the Santa Clara County Superior Court with Judge James Kleinberg presiding to discuss their side of the event. Others in the courtroom included Ann Livermore, HP board member and former enterprise business chief, and Oracle’s co-President Safra Catz. Catz and Livermore were the two key negotiators for the agreement. Livermore was to testify later in the day. Kleinberg is set to rule if the companies had a legally binding contract.

Jeff Thomas, HP’s lawyer, focused on the so-called Hurd Agreement wording, where the companies reiterated their partnership after Oracle hired Mark Hurd, former CEO for HP. HP also sued Hurd for breaking the confidentiality agreement.

Thomas and the lead lawyer for Oracle focused on one paragraph of the agreement, which read Oracle would continue to provide its product suite on the HP platform in a way that’s consistent with the existing partnership before Hurd’s hiring.

According to Thomas, it’s a clear indicator that Oracle was to continue porting the database, main software and middleware for HPs HP/UX version of Unix for the Itanium-based Integrity servers.

Thomas said the contract’s language is consistent with what HP has interpreted and cannot be equal to the interpretation that Oracle has presented.

Daniel Wall, Oracle’s key lawyer, said the clause is a short and breezy and said genuine porting contracts are far more in-depth, covering the scope, monetary terms and time period of the agreement among several other things. Livermore and others who designed the Hurd agreement did not have the knowledge to work out a deal such as this, he said.

Wall said the Hurd agreement was a deal that involved personnel, not software porting.

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