Oracle says that HP played a nasty trick on it last year.
Last October, filed a lawsuit over its former CEO Mark Hurd, claiming that Hurd would take company secrets to arch-rival Oracle.
According to an Oracle court filing form this afternoon, which was first reported and published by AllThingsD, HP approached Oracle to settle its lawsuit two days after filing it. In exchange, HP convinced Oracle to make a statment of support for Itanium — a chip produced by Intel that few companies still support.
What Oracle didn’t know is that HP was days away from announcing that it had hired two Oracle arch-enemies: Leo Apotheker, whose former company SAP had just lost a huge lawsuit to Oracle, and Ray Lane, who was Oracle’s former president before Larry Ellison fired him in 2000.
A couple months later, Oracle dropped support for Itanium, and HP sued. Now, Oracle is saying that it would never have signed the deal in the first place.
More interesting than the filing itself is some of the language Oracle’s lawyers used in drafting it. They really pulled no punches:
- …as of August 25, 2011 HP’s stock has declined approximately 45 per cent in just over a year since Mr. Hurd was ousted, and its shareholders have lost over $55 billion in market capitalisation.
- HP signaled its desire to settle the Hurd action two days after it was filed….In retrospect, the conclusion seems inescapable that HP had an additional hidden and more strategic agenda: HP had been considering and was on the verge of hiring and elevating into its most senior leadership positions two people—Léo Apotheker and Ray Lane—who HP knew would ensure the complete destruction of what was left of the Oracle-HP relationship.
- …SAP’s strategy was to tell customers they were being overcharged by Oracle for customer support and then offer a purportedly identical service at half the price. That too-good-to-be-true deal was possible only because SAP’s subsidiary was using stolen Oracle software to provide the service….The evidence established not only Mr. Apotheker’s involvement in SAP’s illegal business practices but also his deep animus toward Oracle. For example, one email produced in the litigation had Mr. Apotheker writing: “I’m really pissed…we need to inflict some pain on oracle.”
- In addition, Mr. Apotheker personally led an effort to shake down Oracle by suggesting he could get the European Commission to end its extended antitrust review of the Oracle-Sun deal—which was extended largely because SAP led an effort to get the deal blocked—in exchange for settling the litigation about SAP’s theft of Oracle’s intellectual property.
- HP was furious that Oracle had joined the other major software manufacturers in abandoning future development on Itanium. It began a widespread campaign to vilify Oracle, planting anti-Oracle stories in the press and releasing defamatory statements to the public and to Oracle’s customers.
Zing! The entire filing is available on Scribd.