Servers need big application support in order to thrive, and when Oracle withdrew its support for HP servers running Intel's Itanium, HP wasn't happy. Now after a long legal battle, Oracle is being ordered to pay $3 billion in compensation to HP for revoking support for Oracle's database on HP's Itanium servers.
Back in March 2011, HP firmly declared that Itanium wasn't dead. Oracle disagreed and announced it was stopping all software development on Intel's Itanium processor family.
In June 2011, HP reiterated its position and made the first legal claims that Oracle had a contractual obligation to continue supporting Itanium.
"HP believes that Oracle's March 22 statement to discontinue all future software development on the Itanium platform violates legally binding commitments Oracle has made to HP and the more than 140,000 shared HP-Oracle customers," HP said in a statement at the time.
And now five years later, a jury decision agrees with HP's 2011 assessment.
"Oracle's decision to stop future software development on the Itanium server platform in March of 2011 was a clear breach of contract that caused serious damage to HP and our customers," John Schultz, HP Enterprise's executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, said in a statement.
Oracle, however, has a very different view.
"Five years ago, Oracle made a software development announcement which accurately reflected the future of the Itanium microprocessor," Dorian Daley, executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary at Oracle, said in a statement.
Daley added that over the course of two trials, trials it has been demonstrated that HP knew that the Itanium chip was nearing end of life and was actively hiding that fact from its customers.
"Oracle never believed it had a contract to continue to port our software to Itanium indefinitely and we do not believe so today; nevertheless, Oracle has been providing all its latest software for the Itanium systems since the original ruling while HP and Intel stopped developing systems years ago," Daley said. "Further, it is very clear that any contractual obligations were reciprocal and HP breached its own obligations."
Oracle is now planning on appealing the ruling.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist