HP did not commit fraud against Oracle during a personel settlement, a Californian supreme court judge ruled on Monday, dismissing Oracle’s allegation in the ongoing legal wrangle between the two enterprise IT giants.
Oracle claimed that HP committed fraud when it failed to disclose its plans to hire Leo Apothekar and Ray Hurd during a settlement hearing last year. HP had sued Oracle for hiring ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd, who had a non-compete clause in his HP contract. Supreme Court judge James Kleinberg rejected Oracle’s claims, and also ordered both companies to unseal documents relevant to the ongoing Itanium case.
The episode is bound up in a larger war which began in March last year, when Oracle announced that it would stop developing applications to run on Itanium chips. which happen to run HP’s high-end Unix servers (HP-UX). HP claimed that Oracle was using strong arm tactics to force HP customers to buy Oracle servers in order to continue running Oracle’s database software.
Oracle claims that the Itanium chipset – made by Intel – is due to to be phased out, and that the road map is "more an illusion than of technical significance", citing that as its reason for ending development on the platform.
Both companies put a brave face on the unsealing order, after fighting against it for months. Oracle said it was looking forward to the publication of documents which show that HP had "known for years" that Itanium is end of life. HP said the unsealed documents would show that Oracle’s March 2011 was a "calculated business strategy to drive hardware sales from Itanium to inferior Sun servers."
HP also supplied a list of bullet points entitled, "Here are the facts", claiming that Oracle is in breach of a contract with HP, and that its discontinued support for Itanium had been labeled "self-serving and anticustomer" by HP customers. HP cited one public sector customer saying that it could not afford to switch platforms at Oracle’s whim, and that Oracle’s descision would have a significant financial impact on "cash-strapped government entities".
Oracle’s bullet points, "In HP’s own words", claim that HP is attempting to "create market perception of long term viability [for Itanium]", and quotes HP as saying "HP-UX is on a death march due to inevitable Itanium trajectory."