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Hewlett-Packard this week sued Oracle Corp. for halting development of software for Intel Corp.’s Itanium microprocessors as well as hiring its ex-chief executive officer Mark Hurd. The company wants court to force Oracle to continue development of software for its systems powered by the IA64 chips and claims that there was a contract between the two companies that guaranteed support of Itanium.

The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in the state court in San Jose, California, accuses Oracle of using “strong-arm tactics” in forcing customers to “shift from HP’s Itanium server hardware to Oracle’s own server hardware” powered by SPARC microprocessors, reports Bloomberg news-agency. The suit also claims that there was an agreement between HP and Oracle that guaranteed prolonged development of Oracle software for Intel Itanium-based systems, which means that Oracle breached the contract with its March announcement. The suit also cites Oracle’s hiring of Mark Hurd (ex-CEO of HP) last year.

Oracle admitted that HP had filed a lawsuit against it. But the company denies that the pact was actually in place, which is why HP has no reasons for accusations. Moreover, the company continues to claim that Intel is about to close-down Itanium project (which is indirectly confirmed by unofficial sources, which claim that Intel relocates Itanium developers onto Xeon development).

“HP explicitly asked Oracle to guarantee continued support for Itanium; but Oracle refused, and HP’s Itanium support guarantee wording was deleted from the final signed agreement,” a statement by Oracle reads.

In addition, Oracle reveals that HP specifically approached it in September, 2010, asking to sign a long-term commitment to support Itanium platforms, such as HP systems running HP UX, NonStop or OpenVMS. In effect, Oracle once again accused HP of misleading customers about long-term plans for Itanium.

“At that time Oracle did not know that there was a plan already in place to end Itanium’s life.  Oracle did not learn about that plan until six months later, in March 2011. We believe that HP specifically asked Oracle to guarantee long-term support for Itanium in the September of 2010 agreement because HP already knew all about Intel’s plans to discontinue Itanium, and HP was concerned about what would happen when Oracle found out about that plan,” a statement by Oracle explains.

The corporate software giant Oracle insists that Intel has plans to end-of-life Itanium and that they will be revealed in court now that HP has filed the lawsuit against Oracle.

At HP Discover 2011 conference earlier this month Intel once again reiterated plans to continue development of Itanium/IA64 chips. Unfortunately, so far we only know that Intel intends to release code-named Poulson chip in 2012 and Kittson chip several years later. But after that, the plans are unclear.

Tags: Oracle, HP, Itanium, HP-UX, Intel, IA64, Sparc, Sun

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