Oracle Is in Court Again, Now as Defendant Against HP

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on June 06, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It has not been a good recent set of weeks for Silicon Valley fixture Oracle. Only after a few weeks since Ellison's company lost a $9 billion API appeal (for now) against Google over allegations of copyright infringement, it now finds itself on the defense from a suit by HP.

Actually, that's a bit of a misnomer. The roots of the suit were kind of on the wall back when the two companies signed up to do business with each other back in 2010.

Suit in California Superior Court

HP filed a suit in California Superior Court about a week ago alleging that Oracle "breached a clear contractual obligation" to HP by working in bad faith to drive sales away from HP's Itanium processor technology and to the Sun Microsystems servers.

Oracle of course pushed back and resisted any accusations that its actions were directly tied to the noticeable drop in momentum of Itanium chip sales.

We couldn't help but note Oracle's statement accusing HP of pursuing "an astonishing damages amount" of $3 billion. Huge numbers in the Silicon Valley are so common as to denude the word "billion" of its once mythical punch.

Roots of Dissent

Trouble first began back in 2010 when Oracle acquired Sun-Microsystems. This was around the time when the Itanium contract was still alive between the two companies and when the alleged breach occurred. In a twist of the knife, Oracle also hired Mark Hurd, the HP executive who had been embroiled in a sexual harassment lawsuit which resulted in his eventual ouster from the company.

The trial has much less legal import than the case that Google recently won against Oracle and is only expected to last five weeks.

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