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HP Businesses Oracle The Courts

More Court Trouble For Oracle: Now HP Is Suing Them 116

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the larry-ellison-hops-off-the-itanic dept.
New submitter another random user writes "Oracle violated its contract with Hewlett-Packard (HP) after it decided that future versions of its database software would not support a line of HP servers, HP's lawyer has said in court." The issue at hand: Oracle agreed to support Itanium, and has since pulled support. "... Hewlett-Packard estimates it should be awarded more than $4 billion in damages, based on an extrapolation to 2020 that accounts for projected losses, said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because the court document containing the damages request is confidential." Oracle is using the Itanic defense: "In cross-examination today, Oracle attorney Dan Wall asked Livermore [HP board member] if she had heard Itanium called 'Itanic,' a reference to the 'Titanic' oceanliner sinking. 'I've heard lots of terms,' Livermore said. 'I understand the reference they are making and I don’t like it. It is not done by anyone I like or respect.'"
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More Court Trouble For Oracle: Now HP Is Suing Them

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  • This is a year old (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrEnter (600510) * on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @01:30PM (#40234779)
    HP filed this case a year ago [slashdot.org]. They made opening statements in the trial today.
  • Karma (Score:5, Insightful)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @01:32PM (#40234813)

    No, not the open source project "Karma" but "Karma" in the cosmic hippie sense.

    I hope HP takes them to the cleaners. And they aren't even being patent trolls, it genuinely sounds like Uncle Larry Douchebag screwed them over.

    Go HP!

    (Sorry HP, your products still suck... but your lawsuit is AWESOME!)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This 'serves them right' attitude on every one of these posts makes me believe most slashdot posters are petty. Not that I'm surprised....

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

      Go get em, HP!

      • Re:Karma (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Jeng (926980) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @02:24PM (#40235463)

        Habit 29: The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more. No less

      • by aralin (107264)

        You know that HP is trying to legislate some life into a dying chip architecture. I thought this site was all about not using courts to prop up dying business models and schemes... Also, once you wake up, you will see that the advertiser Google, is much more evil than a pure technology vendor Oracle. Just need to take off that blindfold.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          I personally feel Google is the lesser evil of the three being talked about. HP's in the middle, hence more tolerable than Oracle, which I wish would go away and stop fucking up perfectly good technologies.

          • by aralin (107264)

            I don't understand, what good technologies did Oracle fuck up? They buy something its because they use it. Sun was a shitty company and they would die badly in a year or two and Oracle rescued it and used most of it, even saved the failing HW part in a way. That they got beef with Google for trying to destroy Java? Of course. You know at all how Java works? It is killed by fragmentation. What Google does with Android is same stuff Microsoft used to do with its incompatible JavaVM. But now it is suddenly coo

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Also, once you wake up, you will see that the advertiser Google, is much more evil than a pure technology vendor Oracle. Just need to take off that blindfold.

          If you ever had to work with any Oracle product aside from the DB itself, you'll realize that there cannot be anything more evil than Oracle. Anything they touch miraculously become completely unmanageable that very moment...

    • Right - after HP said they were dumping Itanium. Right Oracle screwed them over. Moron.
    • by Truedat (2545458)
      Whilst I agree with your sentiment, you are perpetuating the false definition of patent troll. Oracle have a genuine product to defend and so whilst they might be douche bags of the first order, they aren't patent trolls.

      There is a certain culture that I hoped slashdot was immune to, one that I really, really hate. It seems acceptable to put forward arguments, no matter how ill-defended, in order to pander to your own particular bias. I can almost picture those who gave you all those mod points: "Ah somet

  • Scotsmans (Score:5, Funny)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @01:37PM (#40234879) Journal
    " 'I understand the reference they are making and I don’t like it. It is not done by anyone I like or respect.'"

    'No true scotsman' argument

    We have been calling it Itanic since day one, if people she knows or like aren't using that term, then shes in an echo chamber
    • Apparently the answer is 'yes'; but are you really allowed to pout like a spoiled child who just lost a little-league game when you are on the board of a multibillion dollar multinational corporation? Even the anodyne say-nothing drivel issued by professional PR flacks is less obnoxious, and something cleverer would sound less horribly self-pitying.
      • Re:Scotsmans (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @03:23PM (#40236161) Homepage Journal

        Apparently the answer is 'yes'; but are you really allowed to pout like a spoiled child who just lost a little-league game when you are on the board of a multibillion dollar multinational corporation?

        Not just allowed, but encouraged. The sense of entitlement that oozes from the CEO/BOD class is palpable. They are spoiled whiny children playing with enormously powerful toys, and best understood and treated as such. Expect them to do and say the most thoughtless, self-centered, and occasionally reprehensible things possible with no understanding of the consequences of their words and actions, and you won't be disappointed.

      • but are you really allowed to pout like a spoiled child who just lost a little-league game when you are on the board of a multibillion dollar multinational corporation?

        Hey, if you're not allowed to, what's the point of being on the board? They have to enjoy some perks, you know.

    • Re:Scotsmans (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 19thNervousBreakdown (768619) <davec-slashdot@l ... t ['per' in gap]> on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @02:24PM (#40235471) Homepage

      Yeah, if you don't like or respect anyone who calls it Itanic, you're an idiot, at the very least for basing a lack of respect on something as trivial as calling something a silly name.

      But more than that, the name is apt. As a product, it's been nothing but trouble, and for what benefit? Forcing development of special compilers to support an architecture that does things a fraction better in an industry where computing power doubles on a semi-yearly basis while energy consumption remains flat or decreases, that's what. And for extra fun, it gets companies involved in lawsuits like this one, which benefits nobody but the lawyers. I won't try to argue that Itanium is a shit architecture or anything, I'm sure it's great when you don't have to deal with 20+ years of industry inertia, but I will say it's not even close to worth the trouble. Both HP and Oracle are going to lose money on this.

      I understand that you can't admit even a possibility that the other side may be right in a court case, but I hope the HP board member doesn't actually live by that quote, because if that's the case, HP is a company run by people who refuse to learn from experience. It may be necessary to resort to hindsight to see that Itanium is a stupid idea, but tossing out that experience just because you think it makes you look stupid to not have been prescient back when there wasn't a great way to make the decision is just a recipe for sticking most strongly to your poorest guesses. This expectation of infallibility is one of the most poisonous parts of the business environment.

    • by KlomDark (6370)

      > We have been calling it Itanic since day one...

      That's what I was going to say. I think I heard the "Itanic" term here on Slashdot a few weeks before Itanium was released.

      So them using that term as an indicator that Itanium is a sinking chip is pointless. If nobody was calling that until recently then it would make sense. Sounds like desperation to me.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Except i's not a no true scotsman argument.

      And she does't necessarily live in a echo chamber, it seems unlikely you'd use that word when talking to an HP Board member after all. Doesn't mean you refuse to hear criticism or negative information. I'm pretty sure Bill Gates didn't get any department reports with "Micro$oft" in the titles either.

      • its an edge case, but the inferencing is pretty strong. " I know what is being referred to, and no true scotsman would call it that."

        What seals it is use of the word 'respect'. Her usage implies that anyone who would happen to refer to the product as 'Itanic' was contemptuous.
        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          its an edge case, but the inferencing is pretty strong. " I know what is being referred to, and no true scotsman would call it that."

          It's not a true scotsman argument because there is scotsman involved. There's no claim of all X do/are/belive/etc Y to defend a counter example with "A is not a true X".

          What seals it is use of the word 'respect'. Her usage implies that anyone who would happen to refer to the product as 'Itanic' was contemptuous.

          I don't think so, it just says no one she respects would use a dis

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @01:39PM (#40234921) Homepage

    If they really want a good defense, they need to try this:

    "Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense! Why would a Wookiee, an 8-foot-tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of 2-foot-tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major technology company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit!"

  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @01:51PM (#40235105)

    most contracts like this will have enough stipulations to make it fairly easy to pull out if things go south. i bet oracle put in all kinds of conditions like minimum sales numbers, etc

    • by maroberts (15852) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @02:00PM (#40235207) Homepage Journal

      It wouldn't surprise me if Mark Hurd was a little lax in the clauses of the contract(s) with Oracle because he was dealing with his buddy Larry.

      Of course, once Hurd no longer ran the ship, HP found the terms of their contracts offered them little protection from an uncooperative Oracle....

      That said, I'm not convinced Itanium had a future - maybe it was time to change processors. The difference probably was that HP could have done it in a more graceful fashion if they were not being kicked in the ass by Oracle.

      • It wouldn't surprise me if Mark Hurd was a little lax in the clauses of the contract(s) with Oracle because he was dealing with his buddy Larry.

        The contract at issue was a settlement of the Oracle-HP dispute that occurred after Hurd was essentially forced out of HP in a sexual harassment scandal and picked up by Oracle, so Hurd was pretty certainly not involved, at least on HP's side, in setting or evaluating the terms.

        • by maroberts (15852)

          I doubt that agreement covered all the terms of Oracles relationship with HP. I was referring to the contractual relationship between them which would have included the various other terms. For example, I doubt the benchmarking clause was in any Hurd settlement agreement

  • It sounds like Oracle probably has some contractual obligations to live up to, and if so, HP deserves for them to uphold their end of the bargain. That said, I can understand Oracle's lack of desire to throw good money after bad. Itanic might not be dead, but it's comatose in a hospice with friends and family gathered around. Who'd want to spend much time and effort on a system that almost nobody wants?

    • I can only assume that Itanium is at the (very awkward) 'nobody gives a damn, except for a few very-deep-pocketed legacy customers who are willing to pay crazy money to avoid migrating' stage....
      • by idontgno (624372)

        except for a few very-deep-pocketed legacy customers who are willing to pay crazy money to avoid migrating' stage....

        So, what you're saying, is that HP is trying to serve the best kind of customers possible (from a marketing perspective): locked in, conservative, change-averse, and rich enough to afford it.

        Can you really blame HP for getting upset with Oracle screwing with their money tree?

        Especially with Oracle spouting lame crap like "Yeah, Intel said they'd support Itanium, and yeah, their product road

        • by Anonymous Coward

          ..they would turn around and grind Mr Larry into the ground for that. But they are only spineless MBA Cowards at the top. The grunts who did tens of thousands of HP/Oracle database server implementations - they will be screwed over for their hard work in developing millions lines of PL/SQL code. They will be screwed over for sitting long hours in front of terminals getting those Oracle-based database applications running. Ms Whitman will soon get her golden parachute and 50000 more HP employees will get the

        • Oh, I can't blame HP at all for being upset. My point about the 'very awkward' bit is that HP is, in a sense, both a vendor to highly desireable customers and in the position of being a squeezable 'customer' themselves.

          HP likely makes a tidy profit on every IA64 box they ship, certainly compared to the x86 stuff; but their business is very much at the mercy of Intel and the small number of enterprise software vendors who still supply IA64 products and support. Even in the best case, where all the compani
    • by countach (534280)

      Of course, now that Oracle owns Sun, and their server line, they have a vested interest in killing the few remaining dedicated UNIX vendors. Once HP is gone, the market is owned by Oracle and IBM.

    • by WizADSL (839896)

      It sounds like Oracle probably has some contractual obligations to live up to, and if so, HP deserves for them to uphold their end of the bargain. That said, I can understand Oracle's lack of desire to throw good money after bad. Itanic might not be dead, but it's comatose in a hospice with friends and family gathered around. Who'd want to spend much time and effort on a system that almost nobody wants?

      OS/2 Anyone?

  • Atinum (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PetiePooo (606423) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @02:10PM (#40235315)
    I always wished that AMD had named their Athlon chips Atinum instead.

    1. They came out roughly the same time as Itanium
    2. They were 64-bit (x86-64 instead of Itanium's IA64)
    3. They were touted as the next generation after x86 (as was IA-64)
    4. The name started with A (for AMD, where Itanium started with I for Intel)
    5. The name was a metal with the first phonem(s) removed (Pl-Atinum vs. T-Itanium)
    6. Platinum is more costly and precious than Titanium

    For those that lack the history, x86-64 (and the Athlon) was a resounding success; so much so that Intel begrudgingly followed AMD's lead for their consumer grade 64-bit chips. Intel's attempt to push Itanium and the IA64 architecture faltered with the much simpler and sensical upgrade path that AMD's lineup offered.

    I wonder if litigious HP will sue AMD too, since the success of the X86-64 architecture contributed to Itanium's failure as a platform, and thus Oracle's withdrawal of support for it.
    • AMD also doomed us all to a few more decades of x86 brain damage.

      • by cruff (171569)

        AMD also doomed us all to a few more decades of x86 brain damage.

        Instead of merely deacades of Itanium brain damage?

      • by LoRdTAW (99712)

        I remember when the Alpha architecture once looked to be a promising alternative to x86. It had tons of OS support including Windows, BSD and Linux and there were ATX motherboards available. Benchmarks showed it beat the piss out of any x86 processor in terms of floating point performance (yet integer lagged slightly). Once the remains of DEC were bought by Compaq, Compaq didn't need another CPU arch and sold the Alpha IP to Intel who effectively killed it.

        But the core Alpha team went to work for AMD and to

        • by anss123 (985305)

          yet integer lagged slightly

          If you were planning on using GCC the performance lagged more than slightly. DEC charged top dollars for their compiler, so even folks that loved the alpha arch often settled for those 200MHz Pentium Pros instead. The PPro was very competitive on GCC compiled code.

          Why DEC charged so much for the compiler is one of those strange mysteries. Drove away much enthusiast good will there.

      • That was Microsoft 's fault. They couldn't do 64 bit so AMD needed to support it.
      • AMD also doomed us all to a few more decades of x86 brain damage.

        Such as...? I'm not a huge fan of the x86* ISAs, but they've been incredibly successful and few of us have to deal with their peculiarities by hand. So the instructions are harder to decode than on, say, Power. But what portion of the die is involved in the decode units, especially compared to huge blocks like the built-in 3D accelerated graphics on modern Intel CPUs? It also turns out that those hard-to-decode variable-length instructions are smaller - hence more easily cacheable - than their fixed-length

    • by jimicus (737525)

      IIRC x86-64 debuted on the Opteron, a server chip.

    • by reub2000 (705806)

      Did intel ever attempt to target the IA64 chips at PCs and small servers? It seem odd to compare the 2 architectures.

  • Go for a zillion-quagillian dollars damage.

    Hire the same accounts that figure up the RIAA's damage estimates. They'll make it work.

  • by GGardner (97375) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @02:19PM (#40235413)
    The company that killed WebOS and seriously considered selling off their whole PC business line is desperate to hang on to their Itanium business?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CodeHxr (2471822)
      I don't think they're desperate to hang onto that business at all. It seems most likely that this is HP's way of making a failing business unit turn a hefty profit instead.

      I hope these huge corporations all sue each other into bankruptcy and allow a new generation of corporations rise from the ashes, much wiser from the lessons learned from the dinosaurs that made themselves extinct before them.
    • by Jeng (926980)

      Naw, they just think they can retire it and get compensated by Oracle at the same time. I really don't think they want to hang on to it.

    • The company that killed WebOS and seriously considered selling off their whole PC business line is desperate to hang on to their Itanium business?

      They are desperate to hang on to the massive effective subsidy to their Itanium business that (by their characterization) Oracle agreed to provide for as long as possible. Since its pretty much the only thing that makes that business worth anything -- either where it is or even as an asset to be sold off.

    • by linatux (63153)

      Without Itanium, they have nothing to run HP-UX on. Porting to x86 (seems to be well on the way) gives them a platform, but who would pay for it?
      People will go to AIX/POWER or Linux. HP will be back selling overpriced ink & crappy printers.

  • by gstrickler (920733) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @02:40PM (#40235663)

    According the the linked articles (haven't read the actual suit/complaint), HP is claiming that Oracle committed to continued support at part of the settlement of HPs suit over Oracle hiring former HP CEO Mark Hurd [wikipedia.org] who resigned in the midst of a scandal for which HP would have almost certainly fired him.

    There is no suggestion that HP paid Oracle any amount to develop or continue support of their software on HP's Itanium systems. So, if you cut through all the distractions and boil it down the the basics, HP is claiming the Oracle owes $500M to $4B for hiring Mark Hurd, the very same CEO HP would probably have fired.

    Livermore acknowledged under questioning that Intel demanded $488 million over five years to keep up production of Itanium in a waning market for the chip. She said that to her knowledge, Oracle was never told about the arrangement with Intel.

    Which helps explain why she "doesn't like" people who refer to it as Itanic.

    Wow, that's the second time this week I've backed Oracle's position in a lawsuit (the other is against Lodsys, not the Google case)

    • then they should either do what they said or else pay out whatever penalties were specified in the contract.

      If there was no contract or nothing specified in it, then it goes to the courts...which is exactly what has happened.

    • According the the linked articles (haven't read the actual suit/complaint), HP is claiming that Oracle committed to continued support at part of the settlement of HPs suit over Oracle hiring former HP CEO Mark Hurd who resigned in the midst of a scandal for which HP would have almost certainly fired him.

      There is no suggestion that HP paid Oracle any amount to develop or continue support of their software on HP's Itanium systems. So, if you cut through all the distractions and boil it down the the basics, HP

  • Its a question that has been kicking around in my head for some time but with x86 already pretty reliable, fast and cheap as hell, why is Itanium still around? I understand its pretty much limited to big iron systems where up time is critical for customers like banks and military but what is so special about its design?

    Is there any technical advantage to the Itanium architecture that enables it to run more reliably than a Xeon or Opteron? The only feature I can recall is the ability to run two CPU's in lock

    • by rgbrenner (317308)

      Itanium IS dead. HP pays Intel to continue producing it, but HP is virtually the only customer for it.

      This is why Oracle is being sued. They agreed to support their DB on Itanium so long as Intel produced it... so HP pays Intel to continue producing it, and that forces Oracle to continue supporting it. In other words, if it weren't for HP's payments, Oracle would have been able to drop support for it years ago. HP is trying to do an end-run around the EOL in their contract.

      • by sjames (1099)

        The pig is running down the field jumping into the air and madly flapping it's legs to no avail. HP is yelling "MORE JATOS!!!".

      • by WizADSL (839896)
        It shouldn't matter where the money comes from, if Oracle agree to "support their DB on Itanium so long as Intel produced it", then it doesn't matter where the money comes from. to Oracle: Did you agree to "support Itanium so long as Intel produced it"? Yes? Done. This situation is EXACTLY what a contract is for. Does anyone remember the contract between Microsoft and Nvidia (where Microsoft had first right to buy Nvidia because it made the chips for the Xbox)?
        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Yeah, but contract terms that lack consideration or which are unconscionable are generally not enforceable.

          A requirement to support Itanium so long as it is produced is a requirement to perform a potentially infinite amount of work. What are they getting for that? If the compensation isn't comparable to the work, then it probably can't be enforced.

          If I signed an agreement with you at the age of 20 that you could buy anything I owned for $10k, and you held onto it until I was the majority shareholder for s

    • Likely there's a bunch of Itanium code out there and people don't want to spend the money rebuilding it for x86.

  • that live by litigation, shall perish by litigation

  • Microsoft and RedHat aren't supporting your platform. Intel's latest compilers don't support Itanium either and they make the bloody thing you pay them not to EOL.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"

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