HP allegedly bribed by Intel to keep Itanium alive

Oracle claims that HP was receiving stack-loads of cash from Intel  to keep producing products that used the Itanium chip.

The database company has released court documents it says show that the maker of expensive printer ink did a dirty deed with Intel to artificially stretch out the Itanium roadmap.

Chipzilla allegedly wrote a cheque for nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars to continue developing Itanium processors to prevent customers of HP’s Integrity server line from adopting competing platforms and disrupting HP’s lucrative Integrity-related service business.

HP has said that Oracle’s March 2011 announcement to no longer develop software for Itanium servers was part of a calculated business strategy to drive hardware sales from Itanium to inferior Sun servers.

It claims that Oracle breached its contractual commitment to HP and ignored its repeated promises of support to shared customers.

The Oracle allegation is that HP engaged in a “multi-year campaign of secrecy and deception designed to conceal the truth about Intel Corporation’s commitment to the Itanium microprocessor in order to extend its Itanium server business at Oracle’s expense and reap large profits from its own unsuspecting installed base of Itanium users.”

In 2008, HP learned from Intel that the chipmaker could not be bothered with the Itanium processor because no one wanted it. Instead it wanted to concentrate its resources on its x86-based Xeon processor line.

Oracle has found internal HP communications which show that the maker of expensive printer ink believed the Itanium roadmap was “more an illusion than of technical significance.” The roadmap was only there to create market perception of long term viability.

In 2010, HP allegedly extended its collaboration agreement with Intel related to the Itanium processor after determining that its original plan to port its HP-UX operating system to the Intel Xeon server platform would result in problems with convincing independent software vendors to support the new HP-UX.

HP did not want to lose its profitable support business based on its Integrity servers.

If you believe Oracle, HP asked Intel to update its Kittson roadmap to split the Kittson processor into two separate releases separated by two-and-a-half years. This allowed HP to extend its “profit pool” based on revenue and services from the Integrity server platform through 2017.