HP and Oracle are heading to court.And judging from the mud slinging so far, this lawsuit will be at least as entertaining as Oracle’s lawsuit against Google.
Both sides asked the judge to throw out the other’s case. The judge said no, so off to court we go.
They are fighting over Oracle’s decision to stop making software for HP’s expensive servers that use an Intel chip called Itanium.
The fight started when Larry Ellison hired ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd. Remember his public defence of Hurd in an e-mail to the New York Times? He wrote: “The H.P. board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.”
HP sued Oracle for hiring Hurd. The two settled. As part of that settlement, Oracle promised to continue supporting HP’s products.
BUT then HP hired ex-Oracle executive Ray Lane and Léo Apotheker, the ex-CEO of SAP, one of Oracle’s biggest longtime rivals. Oracle claimed that HP hid its intent to hire these guys and that they were “toxic” to any partnership with Oracle.
It also said it wouldn’t continue to support Itanium.
HP sued again and the pretrial arguments have been nasty.
Oracle claimed that HP lied to everyone, including customers and analysts, about how it was secretly funding the Itanium chip. It compared HP’s love of Itanium to the movie “Weekend At Bernie’s,” meaning the chip represents the dead guy in the movie made to look alive by HP’s investment.
HP claimed that Larry Ellison lied about a conversation he had with Intel CEO Paul Otellini about how long the Itanium chip would be in production.
As funny as this sounds, it’s not a laughing matter for HP. In its annual report, it admitted that Oracle’s decision to stop supporting Itanium has resulted in orders for these servers being cancelled or delayed by customers. HP employees that work on Itanium servers have called them the “cash cow” of HP’s hardware line. But in HP’s last annual earnings, sales for that business unit declined 27 per cent.