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Court forces Oracle to support Itanium servers

HP claims a hollow victory in court
Thu Aug 02 2012, 12:35
intel itanium chip

FLOGGER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK HP has won its legal battle with Oracle over porting software to the Intel IA64 server architecture.

Last year Oracle announced it would cease development of its software on the IA64 architecture found only on Intel Itanium servers. HP, the largest Itanium server shipper, claimed this was a breach of contract between the two firms and now a court has ordered Oracle to continue developing software for the IA64 architecture until HP stops selling Itanium kit.

According to HP, Oracle will have to not only continue to provide support for Itanium until HP finally gives up on the architecture, but the firm will not be able to charge HP for porting its software to IA64. Oracle will have to continue supporting all of the software products that it offered prior to 20 September 2010 on IA64, including new releases and updates.

The lawsuit between HP and Oracle has been bitter and it did tremendous damage to HP's reputation and sales in the high-end server market after Oracle published emails between HP and Intel showing that both companies had doubts about continuing Itanium development.

Not surprisingly, Oracle said it intends to appeal the court's decision and Oracle's spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger had some rather stiff words to say about it. She said, "We know that Oracle did not give up its fundamental right to make platform engineering decisions in the 27 words HP cites from the settlement of an unrelated employment agreement. HP's argument turns the concept of Silicon Valley 'partnerships' upside down. We plan to appeal the Court's ruling while fully litigating our cross claims that HP misled both its partners and customers."

Whether or not Oracle continues to support Itanium is really beside the point, as few customers will commit a decade or more worth of investment in Itanium kit knowing that Oracle will take any opportunity it can to join Microsoft and Red Hat by dropping support for the ill-fated Itanic processor architecture. HP might have won the battle, but it has already lost the war. µ


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