The question of whether or not Oracle must continue to support HP's Itanium server has been decided in a preliminary court ruling. The court has ruled in HP's favor, though Oracle disagrees with the ruling.
In March 2011, Oracle decided to publicly withdraw its application support for HP's Itanium-based servers. At the time, HP denied Oracle's accusations that the Itanium is a dead platform. Going a step further, in June 2011, HP took Oracle to court, demanding that Oracle continue to develop its apps that support the Itanium architecture.
"Last March, Oracle made an engineering decision to stop future software development on the Itanium chip," Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger, said in a statement. " We made the decision as we became convinced that Itanium was approaching its end of life and we explained our rationale to customers here: www.oracle.com/itanium."
HP sees continued life in Itanium and is even pushing forward on new development. In a recent interview with ServerWatch, Martin Fink, HP Senior Vice President and General Manager of Business Critical Systems (BCS), said that HP's Project Odyssey is expanding the capabilities of the Itanium as well as x86-based server platforms.
According to HP's public statement about the court ruling, Oracle is required to port its products to HP’s Itanium-based servers without charge to HP.
"The Settlement and Release Agreement entered into by HP, Oracle and Hurd on September 20, 2010, requires Oracle to continue to offer its product suite on HP's Itanium-based server platforms and does not confer on Oracle the discretion to decide whether to do so or not," the decision states.
The ruling hinges on a 2010 agreement made with former HP CEO Mark Hurd. Hurd is now President at Oracle.
"We know that Oracle did not give up its fundamental right to make platform engineering decisions in the 27 words HP cites from the settlement of an unrelated employment agreement," Oracle's Hellinger stated. "HP's argument turns the concept of Silicon Valley 'partnerships' upside down."
Not surprisingly, HP has a very different view of the ruling and sees it as a 'tremendous win'.
"The Superior Court of the State of California, Santa Clara County, has confirmed the existence of a contract between HP and Oracle that requires Oracle to port its software products to HP’s Itanium-based servers," HP stated. "We expect Oracle to comply with its contractual obligation as ordered by the Court."
While the preliminary ruling orders Oracle to continue to support Itanium, that's not something that will happen immediately.
"We plan to appeal the Court's ruling while fully litigating our cross claims that HP misled both its partners and customers," Oracle's Hellinger stated.