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HP and Oracle Go to Court

HP has to convince the court that certain term-less words constitute a binding contract worth $4 billion in lost profits

HP's attempt to get a court to order Oracle to continue to develop software for HP's mission-critical Itanium-based Integrity boxes began Thursday with jury selection, a selection that could be harder, the Recorder says, because of HP's announcement last week that it's going to lay off 27,000 people.

Oracle claims the Itanium is at end-of-life, that the only reason Intel hasn't pulled the plug on the chip is because HP is paying Intel hundred of millions of dollars to keep it on life support and stopped writing new software for the "dying platform" 14 months ago, ending a disintegrating 10-year relationship with HP.

HP, which makes a packet on the system - or did before all this started - claims Oracle is in breach of contract - an unconventional agreement it claims was forged to overcome its objections to its former CEO Mark Hurd going to work at Oracle as co-president.

It also claims Oracle is trying to ruin its Itanium to advance the hardware business it acquired when it bought Sun.

Oracle claims that's all balderdash and suggests Oracle move to the x86.

In a cross-complaint Oracle said it would never have entered into any so-called Hurd agreement if it had known that HP was going to hire its hereditary enemy Leo Apotheker, SAP's ousted CEO - and now HP's ousted CEO too - as its CEO and make one-time Oracle president-turned Oracle antagonist Ray Lane non-executive chairman. Oracle calls their appointments "toxic" to any Oracle-HP relationship.

HP has to convince the court that the following term-less words constitute a binding contract worth $4 billion in lost profits:

"Oracle and HP reaffirm their commitment to their long-standing strategic relationship and their mutual desire to continue to support their mutual customers. Oracle will continue to offer its product suite on HP platforms, and HP will continue to support Oracle products (including Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle CM) on its hardware in a manner consistent with that partnership as it existed prior to Oracle's hiring of Hurd."

Oracle dismisses the language as a "corporate hug."

It took its case to HP customers early in May when it posted some choice HP documents on the unfaltering state of Itanium gleaned from discovery on its web site. HP then followed suit with documents that are supposed to show Oracle has it in for Oracle.

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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