Oracle took its fight with HP public today.It released a bunch of damaging e-mails from HP executives. It wants to convince customers that HP lied to them.
The crux of the issue is Intel’s Itanium chip. HP uses Itanium in its expensive servers. No other server manufacturer uses it. Last year, Microsoft and Red Hat said that they would stop making software that runs on Itanium.
Oracle — who now owns Sun and sells servers that compete with HP — said it will stop making new software for Itanium, too.
So HP sued Oracle.
Oracle says that Intel wants to ditch Itanium and that HP has lied customers, analysts, everyone about Itanium’s future.
Today Oracle has released a bunch of e-mails from HP to prove its case to HP’s server customers. As you might expect, these e-mails make Itanium look like its gasping its last breaths.
This doesn’t mean that the judge will let Oracle drop Itanium. But customers looking to spend millions on new servers have a lot of choice these days (Oracle, IBM, Dell, HP) and they aren’t going to want to buy servers that won’t run the software they need.
If Itanium dies, that will be harsh for HP. It makes a lot of money, not just on the servers, but on support contracts. HP employees have described these servers to us as HP’s “cash cow.”
Here are a few of damaging tidbits.
From 2007: “Intel dropped a bomb on us last night.” (Intel was talking about cancelling the chip.)
From 2007: “HP and Intel collectively sold ~$9 billion of Itanium-based systems so far.Paul [Otellini] added that we need to address the inevitable on the future of ltariium, stressed that Intel cannot keep losing money on the product line … Tom suggested that Intel is willing to establish a different business model where Intel essentially becomes ‘HP’s contractor’ on Itanium to take Itanium through 2013 …”
From 2008: “We didn’t explicitly disclose much about the true extent of the ‘Alliance’ agreement terms…'” (HP was talking about its agreement to pay Intel to produce Itanium since other server vendors didn’t want the chip.)
From 2011 – “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.”
From 2011: “We’ve been told that we can’t use the following line. ‘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, MAJOR issue. We need to be able to tell the market that you never told Oracle about EOL plans for Itanium. This is a CRITICAL element of the HP/Intel relationship.”
Read all of the e-mails on Oracle’s site.
UPDATE: We heard from HP PR. They contend it is Oracle who has a problem with the truth and sent us this statement:
“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.”