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HP-Oracle Talks Fail: Bloomberg

Judge Kleinberg has previously seemed to recognize the language as a contract but it may not bind Oracle to new obligations

At the request of both companies and the urging of the judge, HP and Oracle took two days off last week from bludgeoning each of other in court. Observers assumed they were trying to quietly resolve their differences over Oracle refusing to write any more new software for HP's business-critical Itanium machines, which has precipitated a steep, if not fatal, decline in the systems' sales.

But the pair was back in court again Wednesday and Bloomberg said their parlay failed. It's the second time they couldn't come to terms. There were some court-ordered talks in May.

The trial started June 4 and the first phase was to run about three weeks after which Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg is supposed to decide if Oracle is contractually obliged by a two-sentence "reaffirmation of partnership" in the companies' Mark Hurd settlement agreement to continue supporting the boxes. If he says it is the jury would then decide if it broke the contract and what, if anything, it owes HP for the breach. HP may seek $4 billion in damages covering estimated losses to 2020.

The key paragraph reads: "Oracle and Hewlett-Packard reaffirm their commitment to their longstanding strategic relationship and their mutual desire to continue to support their mutual customers. Oracle will continue to offer its product suite on Hewlett-Packard platforms, and Hewlett-Packard will continue to support Oracle products, including Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM, on its hardware in a manner consistent with that partnership as it existed prior to Oracle's hiring of Hurd."

Judge Kleinberg has previously seemed to recognize the language as a contract but it may not bind Oracle to new obligations, which is Oracle's position.

Meanwhile, testimony and discovery both sides have released reveal that Oracle tried to get HP to go in with it to buy Sun, a deal that would have given Oracle Java, MySQL and the rest of Sun's software and saddled HP with Sun's hardware. When Hurd was still running HP, the companies briefly considered merging.

Red Hat and Microsoft have also abandoned Itanium.

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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