Oracle to keep porting software to Itanium after ruling in HP lawsuit

A judge ruled that a contract with HP obligates Oracle to continue porting its software until Itanium is discontinued

Oracle said on Tuesday it will continue porting its database and other software to Hewlett-Packard's Itanium server platform after a California judge ruled that it was obligated to do so.

HP worried about an Oracle takeover

Oracle announced in March 2011 that it would stop developing new versions of its software for Itanium, an Intel processor architecture used primarily in HP-UX servers. HP sued Oracle for breach of contract later that year, saying an agreement between the companies in September 2010 obligated Oracle to keep porting its products to Itanium. Oracle fought back with a countersuit, saying Itanium was dying and HP was hiding the truth about it.

Last month, Judge James Kleinberg of the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, ruled that the September 2010 agreement is a contract and requires Oracle to keep porting its software to Itanium until HP stops selling the platform.

Oracle reversed itself in a statement released on Tuesday, citing Kleinberg's decision. "Oracle will continue building the latest versions of its database and other software covered by the judge's ruling to HP Itanium computers. Oracle software on HP's Itanium computers will be released on approximately the same schedule as Oracle software on IBM's Power systems," the statement said.

The case brought to light a once-close partnership between the companies that has grown tense since Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems and former HP CEO Mark Hurd's move to Oracle. A lawsuit by HP over that move led to the September 2010 agreement.

The case is due to continue with a second phase in which a jury will decide whether Oracle is guilty of breaching the contract and how much it may owe HP in damages.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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