Judge orders Oracle to continue support for HP's Itanium-based servers

By Lee Kaelin on August 2, 2012, 9:30 AM

A California Judge has ruled in favor of Hewlett-Packard in its breach of contract lawsuit with Oracle. As a result of the verdict yesterday, Oracle is contractually obliged to continue developing software for its Silicon Valley rival, and now faces a damages claim that could run into billions of dollars.

It all started back in April last year, after the database giant announced it would discontinue software development for servers running Intel's Itanium processors. At the time it was seen by the industry as a direct attack on HP, who uses the processors in its “integrity” enterprise server products. Two months later the PC maker threatened Oracle with legal action if it didn't rescind its decision. Then in June last year HP filed the suit in the Santa Clara Superior Court seeking damages and remedies from Oracle.

“The settlement and release agreement entered into by HP, Oracle and Hurd on Sept. 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,” Judge Kleinberg said. He added that both sides have 15 days to file an objection to the court.

The judge also ordered the companies back in court on August 22 to prepare for the second phase of the case, adding that he expects them to “meet and confer productively” beforehand. HP is believed to be seeking around $500 million in damages, according to an unnamed source speaking to Bloomberg. An independent analysis prepared for HP pins the estimated total loss rising to as much as $4 billion by 2020 if Oracle hadn't been ordered to continue developing the software in question.

“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,” Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger said. “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.”

A spokesperson for HP said the ruling was “a tremendous win for HP and its customers.”




User Comments: 10

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gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This really sucks for Oracle, because most companies have a hard time not making coding errors when they're intentionally trying to put forth a good product.

Being forced to do so under court ordered duress...wow, I hope Oracle's lawyers tossed some stuff in there to allow for some reasonable percentage of bugs.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

I agree with gwailo247. If I were forced to do something, it would be the worst product I could make.

Guest said:

Oracle is becoming like Apple.

Guest said:

Oracle really doesn't like having friends it seems like...

Guest said:

how most software is made. someone comes up with an idea and tells programmers to code it.

it seems the only place that is not the case is where someone is coding something they thought of or something they want to code, like open source

killeriii said:

I agree with gwailo247. If I were forced to do something, it would be the worst product I could make.

Glad you don't work for me.

In fact, do us all a favor, quit now if you do work. I wouldn't want to end up with your crappy products or services one day. There's already enough teenagers out there doing crappy work because they feel they're forced to do work they don't want to.

killeriii said:

Being forced to do so under court ordered duress...

They are being forced to live up to a legal contract.

"A California Judge has ruled in favor of Hewlett-Packard in its breach of contract lawsuit with Oracle."

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

They are being forced to live up to a legal contract.

"A California Judge has ruled in favor of Hewlett-Packard in its breach of contract lawsuit with Oracle."

Sigh.

Do you see the difference between WANTING to live up to a contract and BEING FORCED to live up to a contract?'

I get this pedantic need to be right, but you're completely missing the point being made.

I'm sure that you're some kind of badass programmer who has never made a single mistake, but those of us living in the real world, and actually using software unfortunately are saddled with the work of inferior programmers, cause everything I use has some kind of bug in it.

So in living up to this contract, Oracle is forced to produce a perfect product? Code with no errors in it, so they can live up to the contract?

My point, which you completely missed, was that as in code other than yours, people make mistakes, and I would hope that Oracle's legal staff was able to put in provisions which allowed them to make human (not yours of course) mistakes, and yet not look like they're deliberately trying to tank the product.

Now get back to coding.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Glad you don't work for me.

In fact, do us all a favor, quit now if you do work. I wouldn't want to end up with your crappy products or services one day. There's already enough teenagers out there doing crappy work because they feel they're forced to do work they don't want to.

You bet I will never work for you. I only do projects with meaningful purpose while it sounds like you drive a whip to your crew. Innovation doesn't come from slave masters struggling to cope with their lost youth by means of forced labor. It comes from free spirits with ambition, like me.

Tygerstrike said:

@spyder

Its ok, the world is made up of many types of ppl. Im sure the two of you will never cross paths in real life. And if you do work I hope its something your happy doing. Now to address your post.......

In the real world you are forced to live up to any contract you sign. If you fail to deliver what you either as a individual or a corporate entity have agreed to, you will be punished in some way. Normally by a fine or in some cases jailtime. Now Oracle has a breach of contract. All the judge has said is "Too bad, you agreed to it and you have to honor your commitment". They arent being "Forced" to do it. It was something they were doing before there was a lawsuit. So Oracle can either continue to do whatever it was they were doing before being sued. Or they can face the consiquences of thier desicions and pay HP whatever the contracted fee for failure to complete thier contract. Hope that helps.

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