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HP Threatens to Sue Oracle Over Itanium

Demanding that Oracle Maintain Its Support

Hewlett-Packard is threatening to sue Oracle to get it to change its mind and keep supporting Intel's Itanium chip.

Oh, boy, is this gonna be fun.

Seems first thing Wednesday morning HP had a "formal legal demand letter" delivered to Oracle telling Oracle it was legally obligated to continue to churn out software for Itanium-based servers that practically nobody but HP sells and even HP doesn't sell that many of.

Intel says the whole Itanium ecosystem is worth about $4 billion these days.

The next thing HP apparently did was to call up the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Bloomberg and tell them what was afoot.

It wouldn't share the letter with anybody or explain exactly why Oracle was legally bound to act against its own best interests now that it owns Sun and competes with HP, but it did tell them some version or another of the statement "We will take whatever legal actions are available to us to get Oracle to meet the legal commitments it has made to support HP platforms."

It may have muttered something about choice and competitive harm and told the All Things Digital blog that Oracle's decision was an "unlawful attempt to force customers from HP Itanium platforms" onto its own Sun machines.

It told everybody that Oracle and HP share 140,000 customers and claimed it's acting in the customers' interests and in defense of the big investments they've made in the widgetry.

So to recap: In March Oracle up and announced out of the blue that it was dropping Itanium support claiming that it had talked to Intel executive and clearly saw that Itanium was approaching end of life.

Intel, which has two more Itaniums penciled in, denied it but does go around saying its mainstream Xeon chip is now sturdy enough to support any workload and pretty much matches all Itanium's features.

Oracle's not the only one to give up on Itanium. Microsoft and Red Hat have also thrown in the towel.

For the last year or so, as everyone knows, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has publicly used HP, its board and its new CEO as punching bags so apparently the one-time best friends can be counted on to go a few more entertaining rounds.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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