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Oracle HP Intel The Courts

Oracle Ordered To Pay $3B Damages To HP (bbc.com) 47

Oracle has been ordered to pay HP $3 billion in damages by a California jury over HP's claim that Oracle reneged on a deal to support HP computer servers running on Itanium chips from Intel. Oracle said it will appeal. BBC reports:The court battle over the contract was settled in 2012 but the damages HPE was due have only now been agreed. HP was split into two in 2015 with HPE taking over the running of its servers and services business. In court, HPE argued that although the 2012 legal judgement meant Oracle had resumed making software for the powerful chips, its business had suffered harm. It argued that Oracle took the decision in 2011 to stop supporting Itanium in a bid to get customers to move to hardware made by Sun -- a hardware firm owned by Oracle. Oracle said that its decision in 2011 was driven by a realisation that Itanium was coming to the end of its life. It also argued that the contract it signed never obliged it to keep producing software in perpetuity. Intel stopped making Itanium chips in late 2012 and many companies that used servers built around them have now moved to more powerful processors.
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Oracle Ordered To Pay $3B Damages To HP

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 01, 2016 @01:57PM (#52428643)

    /s

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thoromyr ( 673646 )

      Exactly my thought. In Oracle's defense, it was clear in 2001 that Itanium was dying. You could hear the Monty Python dialog, "I'm not dead yet!" but despite the protestations the writing was on the wall. AMD proved you didn't need a completely incompatible system in order to move forward to a 64-bit architecture.

      You almost wonder about the choice of name as Itanium is close to Titanic, which is about the size of its failure.

      • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Friday July 01, 2016 @02:14PM (#52428777)

        The fact you're not going to make any money, doesn't get you out of contracts.

        Oracle should have just continued supporting it badly and let performance whack Itanium on the head.

        • The fact you're not going to make any money, doesn't get you out of contracts.

          Oracle should have just continued supporting it badly and let performance whack Itanium on the head.

          It's not Oracle's fault that HP was holding onto dear life rather than innovating by moving to new hardware. Everyone else saw the writing on the wall except HP themselves. One of the many reasons they can't keep a CEO to save their life.

        • "The fact you're not going to make any money, doesn't get you out of contracts."

          Actually, according to contract law...

          • There has to be consideration...that doesn't in any way guarantee things will work out profitably for anybody involved.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        The only thing AMD proved is that you could glue 64-bit operands onto a 32-bit processor and that people cared more about running their old software slightly faster than running future software much faster. Thanks to AMD, we're still stuck with one of the first and worst CPU architectures imaginable. The only reason x86/x64 can outperform competitors is due to huge research budgets pushed into eaking out increasingly smaller improvements. It required an entirely new market to give ARM the inroads it needed

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday July 01, 2016 @02:45PM (#52429037) Homepage Journal

          Not really fair since the Itanium had lots of performance issues from the start. It depended on smart compilers that just did not work. It's one advantage was a large memory space and AMD took that away. It was one of two big fumbles that Intel made at the time, the other was Netburst.
          Yes people and companies usually want to buy a computer to run software, not software that may more may not exist in the future. I would love to see Intel for their Atoms drop the x86/286 support just to clean things up but I hear that really will not save much space on the die so it may not be worth it.
          Of course if Motorla had an inexpensive 68000 available and IBM had used it in the PC we would all have been much better off. The same is true if Apple, Atari, and Commodore had use the 6809 but the 6502 was also cheaper.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Please, let's not forget that HP had the leading RISC 64-bit computing platform, ALPHA, and shit-canned it in favor of the Itanium product.

            This negative outcome was based on HP leadership having a basic technological understanding and favoring a immature product over a proven one (that also had a long-term roadmap)

            fwiw, any company that makes a bone-headed move like dumping Alpha for itanium, then attempts to hide performance results showing that Alpha clearly outpaced Itanium, deserves to be left in the du

          • It depended on smart compilers that just did not work. It's one advantage was a large memory space and AMD took that away. It was one of two big fumbles that Intel made at the time, the other was Netburst.

            Intel had already ventured into the depend-on-smart-compilers rabbit hole before IA64 and Netburst with the 432, a ridiculous 32-bit stack-based object-oriented processor released before the 80386. The 432 failed, in part, because none of the compilers available for it could optimize code sufficiently w

            • by armanox ( 826486 )

              Heh...I learned to type on an Apple II/GS

            • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

              " but the 6502 was by all accounts just as good as the 6809."
              I suggest you take a look again. The 6809 was a much better cpu than the 6502. Just take a look at OS/9.

              The Commodore 64 and the Atari where very good because of the advanced sound a graphics chips that they use. The Coco was stuck with less advanced sound and graphics chips but a better CPU so the sort of equalled out.
              The Apple II had the Woz.

              The Apple II gs and the Commodore 128 where the ultimate 8 bit machines I would not call the IIgs and dea

          • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Friday July 01, 2016 @04:25PM (#52429685)

            The same is true if Apple, Atari, and Commodore had use the 6809 but the 6502 was also cheaper.

            I know this is off-topic: I programmed assembler for the 6809, and that thing was a workhorse for its era. It's instruction set was well thought out, and its indexing modes were awesome.

            Then I entered the Intel world. Blech!

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Friday July 01, 2016 @02:45PM (#52429043) Journal

          Come on now, this is not the days of the 80486 anymore. There is no x86 architecture, only an x86 instruction set which although has some warts really isn't bad, its main problem, insufficient registers is addressed completely by x64 variant (thanks AMD). All modern x86/x64 CPUs use a very RISC like architecture, or micro architecture if you prefer, and basically translate the CISC x86 instructions to multiple micro instructions on the backend, the decoder being simpler and faster than most of the rest of chip means there is basically no penalty here, it just isn't bottleneck not in terms of die space, not in terms of clock speed capability.

          Rest assured when you a single ARM core approaching anything near the performance of its top drawer x86/x64 counter parts it will be because the that chip has become more like today top line x86/x64 parts in just about every way except perhaps the exposed ISA.

          TL;DR - x64 has nothing to do with that first and worst architecture, other than some legacy but more or less virtual instructions.

        • I hear what you are saying, but it's important to remember that in business, the 'best' platform isn't always the one with the most technical merit - it's the one that the most people use. Sure, if everyone was willing to work a little bit and totally refactor/redesign stuff, the handicaps they are building around could be avoided entirely. But the cost/benefit (especially over the short term) just isn't there.

          Intel seems to have seen the writing on the wall finally; you aren't going to be able to charge a

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          Much faster? Not with Itanic. It couldn't even outrun their 32 bit processors. Nobody was going to pay 2-7K/CPU for something that couldn't even outrun Grandma's ePC.

          OTOH, ARM really does have a chance.

      • You almost wonder about the choice of name as Itanium is close to Titanic, which is about the size of its failure.

        Hence the nickname "Itanic"

      • by jon3k ( 691256 )
        Calling them "Itanics [eejournal.com]" has been a long running joke.
    • Karma is a bitch sometimes.

  • Between this, losing the Java case, and the whistle being blown on their cooked accounting books, it really seems like Oracle's legal department's about to get tied to a pole and whipped until bloody by Ellison until they've expiated their failures.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    HP owned Alpha and PA RISC, both respectable established architectures. Alpha in particular gets a lot of praise.

    So why did HP dump them for Itanium? Simple answer: Because it was going to cost too much to stay competitive.

    HP couldn't afford to keep designing their own processors. Designing high end processors is expensive, and the costs were escalating. HP would need to spend hundreds of millions (if not over a billion) dollars on R&D. And the spending never stops. Processor designs have a limite

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