Intel and HP deliberately keeping Itanium alive

After saying that Intel and HP were secretly planning to kill off Itanium, Oracle has now filed court documents contending that Hewlett-Packard and Intel have secretly been keeping the server chip alive.

Oracle and HP have been slugging it out in court since earlier this year, when HP sued Oracle for ending software support for the Intel Itanium chip.

Oracle claimed that HP and Intel had decided to kill off Itanium because no one wanted to buy it. HP said that Oracle changed its mind after it bought Sun and wanted to convince current and potential Itanium server customers that they should only be interested in x86 servers.

According to All Things Digital, Oracle is now claiming that HP has secretly contracted with Intel to keep churning out Itaniums so that HP can maintain the appearance that a dead microprocessor is still alive.

HP’s response to the filing said that it is just the latest in Oracle’s ongoing campaign to shore up its failing Sun server business and starve thousands of existing Itanium customers who rely on their Itanium processors for mission-critical activities.

HP and Intel have a contractual commitment to continue to sell mission-critical Itanium processers to customers through the next two generations of microprocessors, ensuring the availability of Itanium through at least the end of the decade, the filing said.

So, in other words, the “secret agreement” was always in place and Oracle knew this when it pulled the support for Itanium.

Oracle appears to have painted itself into a legal corner. It stopped supporting Itanium, saying it had evidence that Intel and HP were pulling the plug on the technology.

All HP and Intel has to do is carry on making it and say that Oracle is making it up. Even if it was planning to kill off Itanium it will be jolly difficult for Oracle to prove if chips are still coming out of the plant.