HP has threatened to take legal action against Oracle if the enterprise software maker does not rescind a decision announced in March to end software development for HP's Itanium chip-based servers.
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HP builds Integrity servers with the Itanium chip, and in the 1990s co-developed successive iterations of the chip with Intel, which took over all Itanium development from 2004.
In announcing its decision, Oracle said Intel had made it clear that its strategic focus is on the x86 microprocessor and that Itanium is nearing the end of its life, but Intel chief executive Paul Otellini responded by issuing a statement that Intel continued to have an ambitious roadmap for Itanium.
HP declined to make public the letter threatening legal action, but said it intends to hold Oracle to its commitments to HP and its customers, according to US reports.
Oracle's decision "violates legally binding commitments Oracle has made to HP and the more than 140,000 shared HP-Oracle customers", HP said in a statement.
HP says the letter threatening legal action was intended to put Oracle on notice that HP has legal rights that it expects to be honoured, and that Oracle will be given a chance to respond.
In a Gabriel Consulting Group survey of 450 enterprise IT customers, 77% of respondents said they believe Oracle stopped Itanium support to kill HP's Itanium server product lines.
Oracle, with its purchase of Sun Microsystems, is now a direct competitor with former partners IBM, HP, Dell and other server suppliers.
Gabriel Consulting said if Oracle software is not available on these systems, the workloads would naturally migrate to Oracle's Solaris Unix variant.
Photo by Peter Kaminsky