HP wades into Oracle, again

Maker of expensive printer ink HP issued a statement yesterday saying that it is hoping for a pre-trial win against Oracle in its Itanium spat.

The court will hear arguments from both sides about whether Oracle can end support for the microprocessor.

Oracle pulled the plug on Itanium support last year, saying Intel made it clear that the chip was nearing the end of its life and that Intel was shifting its focus to its x86 microprocessors.

HP argues that the companies agreed support for Itanium would continue in an earlier settlement reached over Oracle’s hiring of former HP chief executive Mark Hurd.

Oracle has countersued, claiming that HP was guilty of false advertising for failing to disclose the terms of its contract with Intel.

Hangbags have been flying between HP and Oracle after Larry Ellison quickly hired Hurd when he left HP in 2010 amid questions about his relationship with a former soft porn star. Ellison publicly slammed HP’s handling of the matter.

HP responded with a trade secrets lawsuit against Hurd related to the Oracle hire and although that was soon settled, HP later hired Ellison’s arch-rival Leo Apotheker as CEO and the fight was on again. Apotheker was swiftly replaced by Meg Whitman.

However, HP is now arguing that at the time of the Hurd settlement, Oracle General Counsel Dorian Daley had told the company the deal meant that the two “would continue to work together” as they had before. 

Oracle argued in its filing that Daley never intended the Hurd agreement to be anything more than a symbolic statement. Both sides are waiting to see the judge waggle his wig, if he wore one.

The trial is scheduled to start 31 May.