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Oracle, HP Release Documents That Paint Ugly Pictures Of Each Other
Joseph F. Kovar
Oracle and Hewlett-Packard, locked in a dispute over the future of Oracle software support for HP's Itanium processor-based servers, this week released a series of previously unpublished documents each hopes bolsters its case -- or at least its image in the mind of customers.
The flurry of new documents, including several internal emails from both companies, are the latest salvos HP and Oracle have shot at each other in an on-going dispute over Oracle's decision to end development of new software for HP's Itanium-based Integrity server line.
The ongoing dispute between the former partners resulted in a series of lawsuits stemming from Oracle's decision to suspend all software development on the Intel Itanium microprocessor, citing what it called indications from Intel management that it is focusing on the x86 processor line and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life.
[Related: Oracle's Move To End Itanium Support May Hurt HP ]
Oracle this week posted 12 emails and documents it claims shows that HP knew well in advance of the dispute that Intel, its partner in developing the Itanium, was planning to end development of the processor.
Allegations that Intel was no longer interested in developing the Itanium processor is central to Oracle's argument that it should not have to invest in developing software for HP's HP-UX operating system.
HP followed Oracle's move by making available seven internal HP and Oracle documents it said shows that HP had long-term plans for its Integrity servers, and that Oracle was determined to use its dispute with HP as a way to hurt the company whose products competed with Oracle's own ex-Sun hardware.
HP's Itanium-based Integrity servers, which the company uses as the hardware platform for its HP-UX Unix operating system, was one of the primary platforms for which Oracle developed its market-leading database and other middleware.
However, that relationship started to unravel when Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, a move which gave Oracle its own server platform. Oracle has since moved to integrate its software and server hardware into tightly-integrated appliances.
HP last June filed suit against Oracle alleging breach of contract, libel, intentional interference to disrupt business relationships, and violations of business codes in relation to Oracle's decision. The two have since filed a series of suits and countersuits against each other related to that dispute.
NEXT: Oracle Releases Docs Showing HP Concerns About Itanium
In one email exchange dated in August of 2007 between Martin Fink, senior vice president and general manager of Business Critical Systems at HP, and Scott Stallard, who was a senior vice president at HP at the time, Fink wrote about the possibility that Intel would cancel Poulson, which was an Intel codename for the then-next generation of Itanium processor.
Fink wrote that he talked to Shane Robison, former HP CTO, who said he had talked to Pat Gelsinger, then a senior vice president and general manager at Intel, about plans to cancel Poulson, and that Robison wanted information on what it would take to port HP-UX to the x86 processor platform.
In an email dated in September of 2007, Stallard wrote that he told Tom Kilroy, Intel senior vice president of sales and marketing and at the time Intel's vice president of Digital Enterprise, "don't possibly signal to world end of IPF (Itanium Processor family) roadmap... or you kill tw (Tukwila, code name for an Itanium processor released in 2010) success and the bcs (HP Business Critical Systems) business."
An October 2007 email sent to several of HP's top executives, including Mark Hurd, then HP president and CEO and currently co-president at Oracle, included notes taken during a meeting between HP and Intel.
At the meeting, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said that the two companies "need to address the inevitable on the future of Itanium, stressed that Intel cannot keep losing money on the product line, and asserted that what's really needed is a compelling migration story."
Both HP and Intel agreed that the Xeon processor family is "where we will want to eventually land" for HP's mission-critical architecture, and Stallard said that HP plans to continue building the capabilities of Xeon and Linux in parallel to the Itanium business, a plan he said "will be much easier to sell to customers in 2013 than in 2010."
During that meeting, Otellini said in response to a proposal that Intel acts as "HP's contractor" on the Itanium through 2013 that Intel is not really looking to make money from such an approach, but "very simply he needs to not to lose more money on Itanium."
In November of 2009, Fink, responding to an inquiry about what would happen if HP declined to pay Intel $88 million for developing the Itanium processor, wrote, "Simple. They (meaning Intel) shut down Poulson and Kittson development and exit Itanium and have a round of high-fives."
NEXT: HP Paid Intel Big To Continue Developing Itanium
In that same document as presented by Oracle, Fink also writes, "Intel wants out of Itanium. It loses money, and it's a HUGE (sic) opportunity cost for them."
Fink wrote in March of 2009 to Kirk Skaugen, currently corporate vice president and general manager of Intel's Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, that Intel could not issue a statement with the phrase, "Intel added that it at no time communicated to Oracle a change in commitment to the future of the Itanium processor family."
This is a major issue, Fink wrote. "We need to be able to tell the market that you never told Oracle about EOL (end of life) plans for Itanium. This is a CRITICAL (sic) element of the HP/Intel relationship. I don't view this as optional."
Other documents Oracle posted on-line include emails referring to how much Intel expects HP to invest in developing the Itanium processor, as well as a PowerPoint presentation in which HP writes, "HP-UX is on a death march due to inevitable Itanium trajectory."
Some of the documents provided by Oracle also refer to conversations with third parties about Itanium prospects.
In a May, 2009 email to Dave Donatelli, the current executive vice president and general manager of HP's Enterprise Group, Fink wrote about recent discussions with Microsoft about its planned move to drop Windows 8 support for the Itanium-based servers as well as the need to not announce that plan because of the negative impact it might have on Windows 7 Itanium sales.
"Another goal is to extract money from Microsoft. They've complained for years that they've lost money on Windows/Integrity," Fink wrote.
Fink in April of 2011 passed to Donatelli a memo written by another HP person outlining results of HP discussions with China-based Huawei about the prospects of the two companies collaborating on HP-UX. According to the memo, Huawei executives were concerned about the viability of HP-UX because Intel told Huawei, "Intel specifically told them that the Itanium line is at end of life with 2 more generations to go. After that it would be all Xeon only."
All those documents except two were generated by HP while Hurd was the company's president and CEO.
Intel declined to comment on the emails and other documents placed online by Oracle, citing, as it has done in the past, the fact that it is not a party to the litigation between Oracle and HP.
NEXT: HP Docs Say Oracle Hid HP-UX Security Patch, Hates Sun Servers
HP, in a statement, responded, "Intel has provided unequivocal and repeated statements to the marketplace that Itanium is not at an end of life. The undeniable fact is there is committed support for Itanium that extends out toward the end of this decade. Statements that Itanium was at or near an end of life are false. With the unsealing of court filings, the public can see the undisputed facts of Intel’s Itanium roadmap clearly showing a long and sustained future for Itanium."
HP also sent to CRN several internal HP and Oracle documents and emails that were previously unpublished or which were redacted, or edited with parts cut out.
Many of those documents, which are available online on the Scribd site, seem to demonstrate a history of Oracle deliberately attacking HP on the Itanium issue for competitive reason, and indicate that Oracle decided to stop supporting software development for HP-UX as a way to compete with HP via its ex-Sun hardware.
Keith Block, executive vice president of Oracle North America, wrote in a February 28, 2010, instant message conversation, "we are going to fuck hp. ...i am a man on a mission on this (sic)"
Block, in another instant message conversation with a different Oracle executive on July 28, 2011, talked about the difficulty of selling Sun hardware.
"we bought a dog," Block wrote, referring to Sun hardware. "mark (hurd) wants us to sell the dog. ... nobody talks about sun. ... even the sun customers. ... it's dead dead dead. (sic)"
Block later in the conversation continued, "nobody wants to sell sun. ... it baaaallllloooooooows (blows). ... pigwith lipstick. ... at best. (sic)"
Tim Kelly, vice president of sales strategy and business development at Oracle, wrote in a March 27, 2011 email that he laughed at a sentence in new Oracle marketing material which asked customers if they need help migrating from HP.
"I laugh at the first sentence 'Do you need to evolve your existing HP infrastructure to meet more demanding service levels, contain costs or avoid IT obsolescence?' - because we are the ones dictating IT/Itanium obsolescence in this case," Kelly wrote.
Two Oracle emails provided by HP written in February of 2011 seem to indicate that Oracle, which that month had issued security patches for customers running Oracle software on all operating systems, deliberately decided not to tell HP-UX customers about the patches.
NEXT: Oracle Email Indicates Execs Hid HP-UX Security Patch From Clients
In a February 8, 2011 email, Roger Feigleson, then senior director of strategic global alliances for Oracle, wrote in response to questions from other Oracle executives, "Not sure what exactly is going on, but hiding the existence of the security patches for HP UX (sic) only makes things difficult for our customers. Our customers pay the same amount for support on HP as they do on Sun, so they really need to continue to get the same quality of service."
Six days later, Feigleson responded to a question from another Oracle executive about the update by saying he needed to get more information. "I'd like to see if there is any rational reason they won't update the bulletin to show HP UX (sic) is included," he wrote.
Later that day, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison wrote in an email to Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of product development, as well as to Oracle co-presidents Hurd and Safra Catz, "Have we updated our support policies to clearly communicate that there will be no more one off patchs (sic) for Itanium? We need to get our new support policies published: Platinum through Bronze."
HP also released documents that indicate it and Intel were both optimistic about the Itanium processor roadmap.
One document from March 2011 referred to a presentation by HP's Business Critical Systems about its "Kinetic" strategy to analysts in which the company discussed about the future of HP-UX servers.
Kinetic, which was disclosed to the analysts before Oracle announced its decision to stop development of software for Itanium, eventually formed the basis of HP's "Project Odyssey," a mission-critical server strategy calling for the integration of x86 server blades into its Integrity Superdome 2 Itanium-based servers, the introduction of new scalable c-Class blade enclosures, and the porting of HP-UX Unix features to Windows and Linux.
HP also released a July 16, 2010 email in which then CEO and President Hurd wrote "excellent news" in response to a message from the previous day from Donatelli that Intel wanted to announce progress on K22, a projected related to development of the Kittson version of the Itanium. Donatelli also wrote, "I have rarely seen Intel so aggressive on anything to do with Itanium EVER, (sic) and they are working very hard to get this moving forward."
Oracle declined to comment on the documents which were released by HP.