Oracle Insists Intel Is Planning To Kill Off Itanium

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HP on Wednesday filed a civil lawsuit against Oracle over its decision in March to drop Itanium development, and Oracle responded by suggesting that HP is merely bitter because it was unable to lock Oracle into a long term support agreement for Itanium.

According to Oracle, HP asked Oracle to commit long term to Itanium last September, even though HP knew that Intel was planning to end-of-life the processor. Oracle says it declined HP's entreaty and that the Itanium support guarantee wasn't part of a subsequent agreement signed between the two companies.

Oracle also claims that HP tried to pull the wool over its eyes on the future of Itanium. "We believe that HP specifically asked Oracle to guarantee long-term support for Itanium in the September of 2010 agreement because HP already knew all about Intel's plans to discontinue Itanium, and HP was concerned about what would happen when Oracle found out about that plan," Oracle said Wednesday in a statement.

Oracle says it didn't become aware of Intel's alleged intention to discontinue Itanium until March of this year, when it announced it would halt development of applications that run on Itanium servers. But the real bombshell here is Oracle's insinuation that HP executives were in on the deception.

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"What we know for certain is that Ray Lane and HP's current board members and Leo Apotheker and HP's current management team now know full well that Intel has plans in place to end-of-life of the Itanium microprocessor," Oracle said in the statement.

Intel couldn't be reached for comment late Wednesday. But last week, Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group, reiterated Intel's ongoing support for Itanium in a roadmap presentation at HP's Discover 2011 conference in Las Vegas.

Oracle's claims are sure to stoke the flames of the Itanium controversy, which until last week had slowed to a simmer despite a spirited social media campaign by HP aimed at highlighting the impact of Oracle's decision on the two companies' joint customers.