HP drops fight to block Hurd's Oracle hire
We were wrong, Larry can tell you what to do
OpenWorld Mark Hurd can officially work for Larry Ellison, now that HP has called off its lawyers.
HP revealed Monday that it settled its legal action against Hurd on September 10, three days after filing suit in a Californian court to stop Hurd from spilling trade secrets to Ellison.
Terms of the settlement are confidential, but HP said: "Hurd will adhere to his obligations to protect HP's confidential information while fulfilling his responsibilities at Oracle."
The PC and server maker's disgraced former CEO has agreed to waive his rights to 330,177 in performance-related shares and 15,853 time-restricted shares granted to him on December 11, 2009. If the rest of Hurd's exit package is untouched he still gets a $40m in separation.
In a brief statement, HP said it looked forward to continuing its collaboration with Oracle.
Oracle's chief executive Ellison, meanwhile, added: "Oracle and HP will continue to build and expand a partnership that has already lasted for over 25 years."
The statement was noteworthy in that it focused on the very thing Ellison said HP was jeopardized by prosecuting his tennis buddy Hurd: the relationship with Oracle.
On Sunday night at Oracle's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, executives from HP and Oracle were busily stitching up the tears in the public fabric of their relationship caused by Ellison's earlier statements and his contentious hire of Hurd.
That speedy closure explains why Hurd was able to appear on stage at OpenWorld on Monday, and why HP hadn't tried to stop his appearance as an Oracle employee through a preliminary injunction.
It doesn't, though, explain what on earth Mr Execution actually added to the event. Billed as a keynote speaker on the OOW web site, Hurd delivered the standard words on how brilliant Oracle is by being number one in every single technology market, vertical, and server benchmark.
Given Oracle's vast M&A spree over the years, this is as meaningless a set of statements as the ruling party in a dictatorship claiming 98 per cent turnout in a general election and 99 per cent of the vote.
Party line delivered, the former HP and NCR man tried and failed at some early-morning crowd motivation, followed by some speedy self-deprecation, and then a quick rehash of Larry's product announcements from the night before. Finally, he handed over to the extremely competent executive vice president John Fowler who handled Sparc, Solaris, and server news.
Hurd did do one thing right, though: Ellison might be worth billions, be a winner of the America's Cup, captain a company of 100,000, and be capable of navigating a multi-billion-dollar acquisition for breakfast, but he can't use a PowerPoint clicker. Instead Ellison shouts "next slide" at some off-stage drone to change each slide for him.
Speaking Monday, Hurd was also barking "next slide" at some innocent based somewhere in the OpenWorld hall's darkness, who dutifully pressed a button to turn the page on his Oracle presentation deck. ®
Wise decision for HP
I think it was a wise decision for HP not to fight this fight, sometimes no matter how morally right you are, fighting the fight to prove your point will only serve to cause you more collateral harm, and i think HP squaring off against Oracle would hurt HP more in the end.s
On another note...
Thinking over this whole situation, the conspiracy theorist in me cant help but think that this whole thing was a carefully crafted and executed plan that was years in the making.
I know it sounds retarded, but just go with me for a minute. Hurd gets hired as HP's chief battle axe, brought in to end a very dark period for HP, to clean up the messes left behind by Carlie (anything goes) Fiorina. Hurd does a good job, as far as shareholders and directors are concerned, steering HP in a positive direction, but he brings with him the carving knife, he cuts HP's departments to the bone, all of them, and as Larry even said, he cut their R&D way too far. So far that its going to take HP years to recover and get back in to the game as an innovator.
All the while Hurd and Ellison are good friends and tennis buddies.
Then one day, almost out of the blue, all hell breaks loose at the top of HP's ivory tower and Hurd resigns. Knowing that HP is quite sensitive about ethics and moral image after Carlie (what are ethics?) Fiorina's reign of terror, they stage this seemingly questionable sexual harassment complaint by a former soft porn star cum IT consultant, whom doesn't make a big deal out of the complaint and quickly settles it behind closed doors with Hurd directly, then expresses sorrow and dismay for his abrupt departure from HP. Hurd meanwhile resigns over discrepancies on expense reports involving the soft porn consultant in the amount of $20,000? seriously $20,000? for a man that makes millions a year + bonuses, $20,000?. Knowing all the while that the board would react harshly to this, Hurd grabs his golden parachute and glides in to the sunset. Weeks later, if that, he turns up as co-president of Oracle, to replace the former co-president who had expressed interest in leaving Oracle some time back, after his own disgraceful episode. its all a little to convenient to me...
HP probably figured this was a fight they couldn't win. So the one-trick pony will now join Oracle, and over the next couple of years we'll see Oracle staff moaning about being laid off.
Hang on a mo, the crystal ball is warming up. The prediction for the future is that IT acquisition company (formerly printer ink ripoff and before that hi-tech company) will buy Oracle in a few years time, and that Hurd's placement there is part of a long term plan. If HP could come up with the cash to buy EDS for $14bn, is it so far-fetched that they could find $30bn for a database company?
Remember, you read it here first. I predicted the winner in last Saturday's donkey gallop, placed my 20/1 bet, and it came in at 20 past 4.
Paris because I mentioned an ass above.
'Instead Ellison shouts "next slide" at some off-stage drone'...
Oh he's the same at home, whether at the dinner table, watching TV, or in the bedroom: