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Thursday, August 02, 2012
Judge Rules In Favor Of HP In Itanium Case

A California state court judge ruled in favor of Hewlett-Packard and against Oracle in a bitter lawsuit over Oracle's decision to end support for HP's Itanium-based servers.

Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg wrote on Wednesday that a contract exists between HP and Oracle, and that Oracle is required to continue to offer its product suite on HP's Itanium server platform.

Oracle is required to port its products to HP's Itanium-based servers without charge to HP, the judge ruled.

"Today's proposed ruling is a tremendous win for HP and its customers. The Superior Court of the State of California, Santa Clara County, has confirmed the existence of a contract between HP and Oracle that requires Oracle to port its software products to HP's Itanium-based servers. We expect Oracle to comply with its contractual obligation as ordered by the Court," HP said in a statement.

"Last March, Oracle made an engineering decision to stop future software development on the Itanium chip," Oracle said in a statement. "We made the decision as we became convinced that Itanium was approaching its end of life and we explained our rationale to customers. Nothing in the Court's preliminary opinion changes that fact."

HP filed suit in June 2011, maintaining that Oracle was contractually bound to continue supporting Itanium.

HP sued its former CEO Mark Hurd after he took a job as co-president of Oracle in September 2010, arguing he held trade secrets that could hurt HP competitively.

Oracle and HP negotiated a settlement agreement, but since then the companies have disagreed over whether some of the verbiage drafted in it amounted to a binding contract between Oracle and HP over continued Itanium support, leading to HP's June 2011 suit.

The Court ordered as follows:

- In this action for declaratory relief, the Court finds in favor of HP and against Oracle on both the breach of contract and promissory estoppel causes of action brought by HP.

- The Settlement and Release Agreement entered into by HP, Oracle and Hurd on September 20, 2010, requires Oracle to continue to offer its product suite on HP's Itanium-based server platforms and does not confer on Oracle the discretion to decide whether to do so or not.

- The terms "product suite" means Oracle software products that were offered on HP's Itanium-based servers at the time Oracle signed the September 20, 2010 Settlement and Release Agreement, including any new releases, versions or updates of those products.

- Oracle's obligation to continue to offer its products on HP's Itanium-based server platforms lasts until such time as HP discontinues the sales of its Itanium-based servers.

- Oracle is required to port its products to HP?s Itanium-based servers without charge to HP.

Oracle plans to appeal the judge's ruling.

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