Ellison Threatens To End Oracle Partnership With HP Over Hurd Lawsuit


Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison condemned Hewlett-Packard when that company ousted Mark Hurd as CEO. But that's nothing compared to Ellison's latest statement following HP's lawsuit against Hurd following Hurd's appointment as an Oracle president.

In a statement released Tuesday, Ellison threatened to end the longstanding relationship between HP and Oracle because of the lawsuit filed after Oracle named Hurd a president with the company.

"Oracle has long viewed HP as an important partner. By filing this vindictive lawsuit against Oracle and Mark Hurd, the HP board is acting with utter disregard for that partnership, our joint customers, and their own shareholders and employees. The HP board is making it virtually impossible for Oracle and HP to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace," Ellison said in the statement.

HP filed the suit against Hurd claiming "irreparable damage" because it believes Hurd could not avoid using HP trade secrets to compete against HP, according to the suit.

The drama began last month when Hurd left HP following a sexual harassment claim against Hurd from a contract employee that an HP investigation proved to be unfounded. Still, the investigation uncovered what HP's board considered an improper relationship with the contractor, a former actress named Jodie Fisher, and that he had improperly filed expense reports.

Following that move, Ellison blasted the HP board in an e-mail to The New York Times, calling it "the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago." He went on to say HP's board showed "cowardly corporate political correctness" for making the harassment claim public.

Hurd has long been a popular CEO with both partners and Wall Street. HP's stock has fallen nearly 14 percent since Hurd left HP. By comparison, Oracle shares increased nearly 6 percent yesterday after the company announced that Hurd was joining as president, replacing the resigning Charles Phillips.

"Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he’ll do even better at Oracle. There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark," Ellison said in a statement Tuesday.

VARs applauded Oracle's hiring of Hurd, once they got over the initial shock of seeing Hurd join a company that was an increasing competitor of HP too, especially after Oracle bought Sun Microsystems.