Oracle versus H-P: GAME ON!

A case that possibly marks the “end of a marriage” between tech giants Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) and Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ) will start its certainly acrimonious course today in the courtroom of Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg.

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The high-profile case, with HP seeking $4 billion in damages from Oracle, could be the media’s delight with personalities such as Larry Ellison, Mark Hurd and HP’s Ann Livermore taking the stand.

The case stems from Oracle’s decision last year to stop support for HP’s servers that ran on an Intel-made chip called Itanium. According to Oracle, the chip was nearing its life and that Intel had shifted focus to the X86 microprocessor. HP however, claims it had an agreement that Oracle would continue support for Itanium, failing which the HP equipment would become obsolete.

Oracle has counter-sued HP on the grounds of false advertising as it did not disclose the terms of its contract with Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).

Judge Kleinberg will first ascertain whether indeed there was a “marriage”, or in other words, an agreement, between the warring parties. If HP’s view prevails, the case would proceed to jury for determining if there was a violation by Oracle and the quantum of damages applicable.

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