Hewlett Packard Enterprise is only about six months old, and its old rival Oracle has filed a new lawsuit against it.
The former partners have had a history of lawsuits ever since Oracle bought Sun Microsystems to become a direct competitor to HP in the hardware business.
Then Oracle hired HP’s former CEO Mark Hurd after Hurd left HP amidst a scandal.
In November 2015, HP split into HP Enterprise, which sells a variety of hardware, software, and services to large companies, and HP Inc., which sells PCs and printers.
In this new lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, Oracle is alleging that HP “partnered” with a third-party software support called TERiX Computer Company to offer enterprises support for Oracle’s Solaris operating system, including things like software patches, updates, and bug fixes.
Oracle makes most of its money selling such support for its various software and has sued other third-party providers that try to do this kind of support for a cheaper price than Oracle. It’s won some of these suits.
Oracle had previously sued TERiX and in June a judge ordered TERiX to pay $57.7 million in damages. And Oracle famously sued its biggest rival, SAP, after SAP bought a third-party support provider, TomorrowNow. That litigation went on years and was finally settled when SAP agreed to pay Oracle
$356.7 million in 2014 (the original award was for $1.3 billion, but a judge threw it out for being too high.)
In the course of this lawsuit and its aftermath, Ellison engaged in a lot of trash-talk about Leo Apotheker, who went from being the CEO of SAP to the CEO of HP, then was fired by the HP board in late 2011. At one point Ellison called Apotheker a “thief” and a “criminal.”
In other words, when it comes to this issue of selling software support to Oracle’s customers, the company is aggressive.
Oracle says it was it uncovered this alleged relationship between HP and TERiX during that previous TERix lawsuit.
We’ll probably have to wait years to see if this suit inspires Ellison (or Hurd) to trash-talk Hewlett Packard Enterprise or its billionaire CEO Meg Whitman or not.
When we asked Oracle for comment, a spokesperson quoted part of the lawsuit to us:
“Oracle obtained a judgment against Terix, and will continue to pursue companies like HP that misappropriate our software for their own financial gain.”
HPE declined comment.