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HP seeks EU backing in Oracle Itanium case

HP wants European regulators to investigate Oracle’s decision to end Itanium support

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Computer giant Hewlett-Packard is calling on European antitrust regulators to investigate whether Oracle is using its powerful position in the software market to damage HP’s hardware business.

The move comes after Oracle announced that it would no longer support Intel’s Itanium systems, because Intel had made it clear the chip was nearing the end of its life and the company's focus was shifting to its x86 microprocessor.

HP dubbed Oracle's behaviour "anti-customer”, accusing the company of trying to force HP's customers to purchase servers from Sun Microsystems, which had been bought by Oracle.

The two companies took the matter to a California state court in June, where they continue to debate the case. Oracle has meanwhile accused HP of fraud, saying the only reason Intel continues to invest in Itanium is because it is secretly contracted to do so.

HP's attorney Robert Cooper said the European issues were separate from its US lawsuit. However, Oracle's attorney Daniel Wall told Reuters that HP are “literally around the world to every antitrust jurisdiction, trying to say we're trying to put them out of business”.

It’s unclear whether the European Commission will take up any investigation of Oracle.

Meanwhile, HP announced this week that it has updated the road map for its high-end Integrity servers to include systems that can accommodate both Xeon and Itanium-based servers side by side.

HP hopes that the move will help to to deflect criticism against Itanium, claiming that the new systems are being developed because customers want the choice to use lower-cost x86 hardware alongside Itanium-based servers for running mission critical applications.

“Customers have embraced our mission critical infrastructure with systems like Superdome 2, and the scalable [Itanium] blades running HP-UX, and we'll continue to develop those platforms along with technologies like Nonstop and OpenVMS,” said Lorraine Bartlett, vice president of marketing and strategy for Business Critical Systems, HP .

“But while there's continued demand for mission-critical capability on Unix platforms, there's a continued message from customers about needing to get more efficient with IT budgets, and continued pressure to do more with less.”


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