HP sues Oracle over Itanium support; Oracle maintains Itanium is toast

HP logoNot content with suing Oracle over the hire of its former CEO, Mark Hurd, HP is now suing Oracle over the database company's announcement that it will discontinue support for Itanium.

Reuters reports that HP has filed a claim in a California court, alleging that Oracle's March decision to cease supporting Intel's Itanium architecture in future versions of Oracle's database software puts it in breach of an earlier agreement with HP to support the architecture.

Oracle wasted no time in firing back with a press release, reiterating its earlier allegation that Intel plans to end Itanium production and that HP is fully aware of that fact. Oracle claims that HP once asked for a formal agreement for long-term Itanium support, but that Oracle refused. HP, the database maker alleges, is now filing suit as if Oracle had agreed to the support, which Oracle maintains it did not.

Regardless of who agreed to what, this new press release is quite specific and pointed about Intel's alleged plan to axe Itanium and HP's knowledge of that plan [emphasis added]:

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.

What we know for certain is that Ray Lane and HP's current board members and Leo Apotheker and HP's current management team now know full well that Intel has plans in place to end-of-life of the Itanium microprocessor. Knowing this, HP issued numerous public statements in an attempt to mislead and deceive their customers and shareholders into believing that these plans to end-of-life Itanium do not exist. But they do. Intel's plans to end-of-life Itanium will be revealed in court now that HP has filed this utterly malicious and meritless lawsuit against Oracle.

As always, rumors of Itanium's impending demise abound, but this time it feels a bit different. Oracle is certainly risking a massive amount of egg on its face if Intel continues with Itanium beyond Kittson, the successor to the recently unveiled Poulson. Kitsson is widely rumored to be the last Itanium product, so Oracle's allegations have added plenty of weight to that rumor. So ultimately, we wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that Oracle is right about Intel's plans to stop the Itanium line with Kittson.

If Intel does plan to EOL Itanium with Kittson, neither the chipmaker nor HP would want anyone to know about the plan until the last possible minute. According to a widely cited (and possibly outdated) IDC estimate, HP accounts for some 90 percent of Itanium systems sold; so HP stands to lose the most from Oracle's decision to pull the plug on Itanium support. As for Intel, the chipmaker has already invested in designing Poulson and Kittson, so it would at least like to recoup its investment in those parts before putting the product line out to pasture.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: HP, Itanium, Oracle

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