Oracle: HP's Itanium Suit is a "Publicity Stunt"

Paul Lilly

Oracle chose not to mince words when responding to Hewlett Packard's lawsuit over the company's decision to stop developing software for Intel's Itanium platform. As far as Oracle is concerned, HP's suit is nothing more than a "publicity stunt" and is part of a "broader campaign to lay the blame on Oracle for the disruption that will occur when HP's Itanium-based server business inevitably comes to an end," Oracle said in a court filing. Oh snap!

HP's beef with Oracle is that it's decision to stop supporting Itanium violates commitments between the two companies and effectively strong-arms HP customers into using Oracle's hardware.

"The core allegation in this case -- which HP has aggressively sold to the press -- is that HP has a contract with Oracle guaranteeing that Oracle will develop new versions of its flagship database product (and apparently everything else Oracle makes) to run on HP's Itanium systems," Oracle said in its filing. "Such an important contract, if it existed, would obviously be a heavily negotiated, fully documented formal contract, with terms and conditions and payment obligations and all the other characteristics of real-world commercial agreements. But there is no such agreement for porting the Oracle database to Itanium."

Oracle points out that other companies, like Microsoft and Red Hat, have also chosen to discontinue software development for Itanium, and while Oracle will support the platform "for years to come," it's not willing "to pretend that itanium has a future when it does not."

"HP untenably has put itself and thousands of customers out on the end ofa  very long limb because HP, almost alone now, clings to a decades-old microprocessor architecture -- Intel's Itanium chip line -- that has no future," Oracle writes. "Intel has wanted to discontinue Itanium production for years, and HP knows it. The performance advantage over Intel's x86-based microprocessors that once justified Itanium is today effectively gone. But the end of Itanium is a business disaster for HP, which generates a large percentage of its overall profit from Itanium support agreements."

You can read the rest of Oracle's scathing court filing here (PDF) .

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