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Oracle: HP Paying Intel To Keep Itanium Alive

Oracle says HP's efforts to "maintain the appearance that a dead microprocessor is still alive" is "a remake of 'Weekend at Bernie's.'"

"The whole thing is a remake of 'Weekend at Bernie's,'" Oracle says in the court documents filed Friday in the Superior Court of California, for the County of Santa Clara. The reference is to the 1989 film in which the lead characters drag around the body of their murdered boss in an effort to convince people he's still alive.

The Oracle filing seeks to delay the start of the trial, now set for Feb. 27, 2012, because the assertion that HP is paying Intel to keep producing Itanium "makes clear that the scope of this case needs to expand in order for Oracle to fairly defend itself and present all claims at once." Oracle also argued that pre-trail discovery, including taking depositions from executives and employees from the involved parties, is at an early stage.

Oracle said in March that it was discontinuing software development for the Itanium server platform, saying the technology was entering the end of its life. That HP as the only major vendor still supporting Itanium. Oracle also has suggested that Intel isn't committed to a long-term future for Itanium.

HP sued Oracle in June, arguing that Oracle is legally obligated to continue producing software for the Itanium platform.

Court documents filed by HP earlier last the week said: "HP and Intel have a contractual commitment that Itanium will continue through the next two generations of microprocessors…" Oracle said in its filing.

"As innocuous as HP tries to make that sound, the market has never been told that Itanium lives on only because HP is paying Intel to keep it going," Oracle said in its latest filing, the public version of which is heavily redacted.

"To the contrary, HP has made countless statements to the marketplace to the effect that Intel's commitment to Itanium is its own, based on Intel's normal calculus of investing in microprocessors that it believes have a future. That simply is not true with respect to Itanium. Intel's independent business judgment would have killed off Itanium years ago. But HP has secretly contracted with Intel to keep churning out Itaniums so that HP can maintain the appearance that a dead microprocessor is still alive. The whole thing is a remake of 'Weekend at Bernie's.'"

"Oracle's latest filing is nothing more than a delay tactic designed to extend the paralyzing uncertainty in the marketplace created when Oracle announced in March 2011 – in a clear breach of contract – that it would no longer support HP's Itanium platform," HP said in a statement this morning.

"The fact remains that Oracle's decision to cut off support for Itanium was a calculated business strategy to force Itanium customers into buying Sun servers. This filing is just the latest in its ongoing campaign to shore up its failing Sun server business and strand thousands of existing Itanium customers who rely on their Itanium processors for mission-critical activities.

"As Oracle well knows, HP and Intel have a contract that ensures the robust continued development and supply of new generations of Itanium microprocessors for mission-critical enterprises spanning this decade. HP is resolved to enforcing Oracle's commitments to HP and our shared customers and will continue to take actions to protect its customers' best interests. It is time for Oracle to quit pursuing baseless accusations and honor its commitments to HP and to our shared customers in a timely manner," the company said.

An Intel spokesperson said Intel is not a party to the Oracle-HP lawsuit and declined to comment.

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