The raging legal battle between HP and Oracle picked up in intensity last week as both sides built their cases for cross action lawsuits. In what promises to be an epic and landmark battle between the giant Hewlett Packard and a once-trusted contributing partner, Oracle, the computer and software industries are watching with interest.
The lawsuit has more than a fair share of intrigue as finger pointing and personalities continue to clash. Oracle claims that HP cost the company more than $95 million in profits. HP claims that Oracle has cost the hardware provider more than $4 billion in damages and wants compensation.
Former HP CEO Now At Oracle
Spice the legal battle up with the fact that former HP CEO, Mark Hurd is the current CEO of Oracle and you have a high tech, old-fashioned disagreement that runs through the entire corporate structure of both companies. The question is who has it right.
From HP’s point of view, which prevailed in an August 2012 California hearing, the disagreement revolves around Oracle’s change in policy to support Intel’s Itanium platform. Company officials announced in 2011 that the software giant would no longer the platform that had served HP so well in the past.
HP executives have described the move as malicious, asserting that Oracle, who claimed HP as its biggest customer, overtly tried to steal its customers. The attempt was based on Oracle’s sudden lack of support for Itanium and the company’s shift to SPARC/Solaris hardware. Oracle had acquired rights to this hardware when it purchased Sun Microsystems in 2009.
At one time, Oracle and HP shared about 140,000 clients. Most of HP’s clients ran the Oracle enterprise software. The strong relationship changed sour after Oracle hired the ousted Hurd.
As part of the employment agreement, HP says it procured certain guarantees from Oracle when Hurd was hired. At that point, Oracle valued HP’s business. HP describes the primary agreement as binding and adds that the two companies agreed to continue to support each other’s technologies.
Oracle clams the shift away from Itanium was based on its belief that Intel was shifting away for the platform. Intel’s spokespersons told the court that while the company was researching other products, it had no plans to abandon the platform.
Oracle also maintains that the binding agreement that is the crux of the case does not exist. In round 1, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James P. Kleinberg agreed with the HP presentation.