HP Files Lawsuit Against Oracle Over Jettisoning Of Itanium

HP's civil lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of California, for the County of Santa Clara, is the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company's latest bid to get Oracle to change its mind over stopping development of applications that run on HP servers that use Intel's Itanium processors.

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, HP reiterated its stance that Oracle's Itanium decision violates legally binding commitments with both HP and the companies' estimated 140,000 common customers.

"HP believes that Oracle is legally obligated to continue to offer its software product suite on the Itanium platform and we will take whatever legal actions are available to us necessary to protect our customers’ best interests and the significant investments they have made," HP said in the statement.

HP also reiterated that Itanium is part of its long-term mission-critical server roadmap and noted that Intel has "repeatedly reinforced its ongoing commitment to the Itanium roadmap".

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Oracle responded by dismissing HP's breach of contract claim. "What is true is that HP explicitly asked Oracle to guarantee continued support for Itanium; but Oracle refused, and HP’s Itanium support guarantee wording was deleted from the final signed agreement," Oracle said in a press release issued late Wednesday.

According to Oracle, HP asked Oracle for a long-term commitment to support Itanium last September. "At that time Oracle did not know that there was a plan already in place to end Itanium’s life. Oracle did not learn about that plan until six months later, in March 2011.

"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 in the Wednesday statement.

Oracle first explained its rationale for discontinuing Itanium on March 22, claiming it received indications from Intel management that Intel planned to focus the bulk of its future development on the x86 processor line, and that Itanium was nearing its end-of-life.

To support its claims, Oracle noted that HP CEO Leo Apotheker didn't mention Itanium at HP's Summit 2011 event in San Francisco, and that Microsoft and Red Hat had already dropped Itanium support.

At HP's Americas Partner Conference in late March, CEO Leo Apotheker waded into the fray, calling Oracle's Itanium decision "a rather clumsy attempt by Oracle to try and prop up a failing and deteriorating Sun server business."

Dave Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager for HP's enterprise servers, storage, and networking business (ESSN) went further, urging HP channel partners to voice their concerns directly to Oracle.