back to article HP sues Oracle over Itanic withdrawal

Hewlett-Packard has sued Oracle, just like it threatened it might last week, over the software giant's refusal to support the Itanium processor with future releases of its database, middleware, and application software. The complaint, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Wednesday, asserts ten grievances against HPs …


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  1. Lance 3

    Status quo

    "HP believes that Oracle is legally obligated to continue to offer its software product suite on the Itanium platform"

    Oracle will, they key is that Oracle said FUTURE software. They can keep selling the current version as long as people are willing to buy it. I guess HP should becareful of what the ask for, as they might just get it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "this utterly malicious and meritless lawsuit"

    "HPs former best buddy" former? I'll say. At least until the next back scratch-fest.

    "promissory estoppel" Huh? Is that the same as "but, but, he took his ball home!"?

  3. John Riddoch


    What could be interesting is any discovery phase of the court case (assuming it gets that far) as it'll dig out any number of documents relevant to both Intel's Itanium plans and what HP & Oracle agreed.

  4. Geoffrey Swenson

    What a big waste of time

    About 8 years ago working at Microsoft, one of the managers started up a hugely expensive Itanium server in his office to install the current betas of whatever he was working on. You could hear the fans screaming to vent the heat put out by the massively inefficient beast from several offices away.

    Even though Microsoft was still signed on to support the Itanic, the manager expressed quite a bit of frustration as he apologized for all of the noise, and gave the distinct impression that he felt he was wasting his time.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: What a big waste of time

      " of the managers started up a hugely expensive Itanium server in his office....." And there was me thinking a realy big company like M$ could afford a datacenter? If it was a server designed for a dc rather than an "office-friendly" model, it would have made a racket regardless of the CPU type. All you have displayed is your lack of familiarity with servers.

  5. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Larry's ego just tripped him up!

    At a guess, I'd say the legal issue is the fine print from the old hp-Oracle Allianace Agreement from the days before Oracle bought the Sun carcass. That agreement, which was a legal contract, included the provision that Oracle would release all new versions of the database and associated products at the same time for both Slowaris and hp-ux (not sure if OpenVMS was included in the deal). I still have an old joint hp-Oracle presentation they made to us back in 2008 where the point was highlighted.

    Rob Enderle has an interesting take on what the real problem is - Larry's ego - and the mythical "plan" to kill Itanium, which only seems to exist in Larry's dreams. As Rob points out, the biggest winners in the mess will probably be SAP and IBM, Larry's biggest enemies:

    /need more popcorn!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Legal ticks taste blood...

      I'm sure Oracle will have gone through any contract regarding releasing their products on HP-SUX (see what I did there Matt) but either way this one will drag on and on. I wouldn't be surprised if Intel pull Itanic before this gets settled, anyway only the parasites in suits will win ... as always.

    2. SplitBrain

      Come on Matt....

      You know full well this is not just Larry's "ego", their legal team would have gone through that contract with a fine tooth comb before they made a huge statement such as they did. What do you think that Oracle are a bunch of amateurs when it come's to the business of law suits? Their legal team is probably one of the slickest around, let's face it they have more than enough experience in this area..

      This is all very much a case of he said she said, if Oracle are contractually obliged then fair enough they need to pay up, but I very much doubt this is the case.....

      Mark Hurd knows exactly what they (HP/Intel) are going to do, people appear to forget that, hence HP kicking up a fuss and trying to sue Mark when he went off to Oracle for violating a confidentiality clause. That didn't work out too well for them did it.....

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        RE: Come on Matt....

        Hmmm. So you forgot that Larry originally didn't want the Sun hardware bizz, just the software, and wanted BFF hp to take it off his hands (I suggest you go back and read Not surprisingly, hp didn't want it either, which knocked Larry's nose out of joint. Larry has been scrambling to make sense of the Sun buy ever since, and there hasn't been a longterm plan beyond "Hide my big mistake, please!"

        Weren't you the least bit surprised at how Larry jumped to employ Hurd right after hp fired him for what amounts to theft, abuse of position and sexual harrassment? How good were the legal checks into Hurd's contract and dealings when Oracle's own CFO didn't even know he was being hired? Larry was lucky that time in that hp decided to play nice and try and smooth things over, but now Leo is in charge and he has an axe to grind with Larry. The hp-Oracle relationship is now going to be like the Oracle-M$ relationship - a necessary evil for both sides only as long as it is profitable, and with backstabbings all round.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Did we read the Same Article

      "... breach of implied contract, promissory estoppel, defamation-libel, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage ..."

      Come on nothing the article suggest an explicit contract. Knocking Larry is getting real tired.

      Sounds more like HP needs Oracle to throw their Itanium business a life line.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        RE: Did we read the Same Article

        And what's under the redacted bit?

    4. Macka

      Mythical plan or not

      It doesn't matter. Every time this story airs it plants or re-enforces doubt in Itanium's future. This will damage HP's Itanium business, and its customer list isn't that big in the first place. As you've pointed out previously Matt, HP gets more $$'s per Itanium sale than your average server, so even a small dent in their installed base is going to smart. After that, it's a rolling stone gathering moss.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        RE: Mythical plan or not

        There probably will be a dent in hp Integrity sales, but the benefactor will not be Snoreacle, it will be IBM if the customers decied to stay with UNIX, or hp ProLiant if they decide to go to x64. All Larry is doing is making us customers nervous - what's to stop him doing the same trick to Power? What if he goes really loopy and stops supporting Oracle software on anything except Slowaris on either CMT (which can't do the job of replacing either Itanium or Pee7) or only Oracle's x64 servers? Sure, we like the Oracle software, but we also like stability and predicatbility. At this point, even DB2 seems a better bet! Those that suffered through the Sun flip-flops on Linux (or x86/64 for that matter) will know what it's like when a vendor gets unpredictable - you stop trusting them.

        We don't like vendor lock-in, which is why we maintain our application stack on two vendor's UNIX hardware (IBM's and hp's) and with two database options (Oracle and DB2). It also means we can gouge extra discounts from both vendors in any given area by playing them off against each other. At the moment, Oracle is making us nervous because they are deliberately restricting choice. I like an easy life - my ideal option is Oracle and hp kiss and make up, if only because there is a legal gun to Larry's head. But if not then our business will want the path of least risky change, and it's easier to export a database out of Oracle and into DB2 or Sybase than it is to size servers for a new second hardware option, run it through testing and introduce new management tool, etc. One of our key app vendors is SAP - no prizes for guessing what they advise!

  6. LPF
    Thumb Up

    @Matt Bryant

    Sorry I have just read that post and as far as I can see its a load of complete balls. The contract is Between HP and Oracle , Not Oracle and those customers. If Oracle decide that they will not offer their software on Itanium anymore, then those customers just change the hardware to either be Sun boxen or x86 derivative. Its now like there business is going to fail over night.

    Anyway a quick way to settle this will be to ask Intel if the Itanium will remain in production and improved the next 10 years, if so end of problem , or am I missing something?

  7. Tom Kelsall


    Surely all it takes is for Intel to publicly state their position on the Itanium Processor?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Title

      Erm... they already did. Wake-up!

  8. tom 99


    > those customers just change the hardware to either be Sun boxen or x86 derivative

    or Power...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Money to waste on despicable lawyers? Here's a better idea.

    This will cost a fortune in lawyers and other such B Ark staff.

    If HP and Oracle have got huge quantities of money to burn on this silly dispute, HP could use some of that money to port HP-UX, NSK, and VMS to run on x86-64 Proliant, and Oracle could use their share to port Oracle to x86-64 on HP-UX and VMS on x86-64 (Oracle don't do NSK, do they?).

    Much happiness all round. What's not to like (unless you're a despicable lawyer or have bet your career on IA64)?

  10. Ms123

    No gain for employees

    We keep on getting mails from the top brass about this lawsuit. We had to do a outlook rule to automatically delete them. If HP loses the lawsuit, the top brass will quickly try to recoup the money by cutting more benefits to the employees, like pay cuts or firing more people. If HP wins the lawsuit of course the millions will only be redistributed to a very little selected group of senior managers, as it has been in HP for the last 5 or 6 years. So HP general staff can't care less....just a bit worried of more cuts and redundancies if HP loses

  11. Anonymous Coward

    OS Confusion

    How much abstraction is there by the OS. Surely it's a bit rare now that a business application actually cares what the CPU is... it's the OS that cares...

    or am I missing something ?

    (NB - I know that last sentence is an invitation for abuse - resist the temptation)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You are missing something

      Itanium is a completely different architecture, not compatible with x86, so yes, software has to be written/built specifically for it.

    2. lomuk

      @am I missing something

      Not a lot.

      They should be able to use one code base, but they have the expense of building and testing on Itanium.

    3. SplitBrain

      Yes you are missing something...

      When it comes to the Oracle Database:

      1 - The CPU does not matter

      2 - The OS does not matter

      It is easy to move an Oracle DB from one platform to another, we have moved DB's from AIX -> Red Hat and even windows -> Solaris. Yes you need downtime but most importantly NO changes need to be made to the application code/SQL etc.

      It's that Oracle DB which basically dictates the entire Unix market, always has done, businesses are tied to that DB, not the hardware/OS stack. In a word, if HP lose's this (they don't even have a case as far as I can see) then Itanium is basically fecked...Hence you have HP in a panic trying to save their Unix business from the clutches of a slightly crazy, but very capable and successful businessman, Larry.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        RE: Yes you are missing something...

        ".......It is easy to move an Oracle DB from one platform to another....." It's also quite easy to export a database from Oracle and transfer it to DB2 or Sybase, there are tools and services from hp and IBM for just such moves.

        Despite their non-to-hidden rivalry with hp, IBM are not stupid and keep DB2, Informix and WebSphere products humming on hp-ux, beacuse they know they will sell more software than just offering it on Pee-series alone. And Sybase is now a SAP product, a company that already has a good relationship with hp (and a big reason to hurt Oracle). And that's before you consider ideas like ProgreSQL, or Intersystems Cache for OpenVMS.

        ".....It's that Oracle DB which basically dictates the entire Unix market....." There are two really dominant databases - M$ SQL Server and Oracle's - and they rose to dominance by being multi-platform, having good perfromance, and good support. For many years, M$ SQL Server has been out-selling Oracle, just as Windows and Linux have been eating into the UNIX base. Larry's response has been a desperate retreat to a walled garden to preserve his profit margins, but in doing so he is removing the multi-pltaform choice that made Oracle software attractive. His plan seems to be to eventually restrict his software to hardware only wearing an Oracle badge (e.g., Exedata). Which is not attractive to us customers that value choice. In short, he has now made DB2 and Sybase more attractive.

  12. Mr Wrong

    you're missing one point...

    "HP could use some of that money to port HP-UX, NSK, and VMS to run on x86-64 Proliant, and Oracle could use their share to port Oracle to x86-64 on HP-UX and VMS on x86-64 (Oracle don't do NSK, do they?)."

    HP could use some money to port HP-UX and OpenVMS to x86, and I'd bet they will do it one day, but it's very unlikely that it would make Oracle prepare their software for such platform. Why would they? They just shown that they don't care about possible revenue losses and customer dissatisfaction, they are not going to do anything for customer's good and especially for HP's good. So yes, HP may port HP-UX but there won't be oracle database for this anymore. If this lawsuit is not successful of course (but I doubt, they will rather settle on some money been paid I guess).

    No, Oracle doesn't do any software for NSK and also for VMS they don't develop new versions since some time. So it's only about HP-UX and Integrity/Superdome platform. But it's still huge customer base, majority of SAP installations done in last few years globally uses this platform. These are all huge customers.

    About lawsuit itself - few people only know what exactly is in the Alliance papers. I doubt that HP would risk potential PR disaster if they wouldn't have strong papers at hand. They didn't have to sue them, if they did, it means something.

  13. Beachrider

    Warren Zevon would sing...

    I'm the innocent bystander

    Somehow I got stuck

    Between the rock and the hard place

    And I'm down on my luck

    ... Send Lawyers, Guns and Money (1978)

  14. FozzyBear

    Cry me a river HP

    In the same manner you have treated your employees Oracle is now getting the pleasure to do to you. Completely fuck you over. The surprise in this situation is that Karma has worked so quickly against the dipshits that are running HP now

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