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HP asks court to force Oracle to obey Itanium contract

'But there is no contract!' - Oracle

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HP has told a US court that it should force Oracle to keep supporting its Itanium-based servers for as long as HP sells them.

The firm's lawyer said in closing arguments in the case that Oracle was contractually obliged to support Itanium chips based on the Hurd agreement. Oracle stood by its position that the Hurd agreement contained no such contract.

"HP is using litigation to try to get a contract that HP doesn't have," Oracle lawyer Dan Wall said in court on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Oracle stopped making software compatible with Itanium chips last year because it claims Intel made it clear that the chip was about to be discontinued in favour of X86 processors. HP claims that Oracle had agreed to keep supporting Itanium and that deal was affirmed when the firms settled their lawsuit over Oracle hiring ex-HP chief exec Mark Hurd. Without Oracle's support, HP's gear using the chip will become obsolete.

"For years, Oracle led HP to believe it would continue to make the products available," HP lawyer Jeff Thomas said, according to Bloomberg.

He maintained that HP thought the pair's happy relationship might be in doubt when Oracle hired Hurd – and that's why it asked the firm to put the assurances into a binding contract.

HP is trying to get a court order to force Oracle to keep making the necessary software and cough up around $500m in damages. Failing that, HP reckons it should get over $4bn in damages based on projected losses to 2020, a person familiar with the case told Bloomberg.

Oracle legal eagle Wall said that the Hurd agreement doesn't have "a single word about future software" in it and HP has no evidence of any Oracle employee ever giving any assurances.

"Oracle and HP don't have any such forward-porting agreement," he said, adding that the firm was trying to use a load of emails and other documents to try to make it look like there was an agreement where none existed.

The judge in the case, James Kleinberg, will decide on the first phase of the case - whether or not there is a contract and if there is, what its terms might be - sometime after the firms have filed their last documents on 16 July. If he decides a contract does exist, a jury will then decide if Oracle violated it, as well as setting an amount for damages. ®

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