Oracle must pay $3 billion to Hewlett Packard Enterprise in a lawsuit that debuted five years ago over the use of Itanium processors.
HP claims that Oracle refused to further develop software for servers that work on Intel's Itanium chips. At the same time, Oracle affirms that it was not bound to continue providing support for Itanium chips forever. What is more, Oracle says that Intel explained as early as 2011 that the chip was living its last days, so further development was a waste of resources.
Oracle will appeal the verdict, which obliges the company to pay the hefty sum to HP Enterprise.
It is not the first time this year that Oracle has lost a case in court. This May, a jury turned down the company's claim that Google copied parts of Java into Android, thus infringing Oracle's proprietary programming language. In that lawsuit, Oracle sought to take $9 billion in damages from Google.
Sources from the company note that an appeal is due in that case, as well.
The case that began in 2011 was started by HP Enterprise (known only as Hewlett Packard, or HP at the time), when Oracle stopped porting database and other products to Itanium. HP had the Itanium processor running in a big number of its high-end servers, and claims that Oracle was bound by contract to offer support for the chip.
Oracle, however, sees the situation differently.
Initially, Oracle was ordered by a judge to keep providing support for HP's Itanium chips until the company renounces the hardware.
However, a new trial debuted in May and the preliminary result is that Oracle owes $3 billion in damages to HP Enterprise, as a direct result of pulling the plug on the Itanium support.
"It is very clear that any contractual obligations were reciprocal and HP breached its own obligations," says Dorian Daley, Oracle's executive counsel.
Daley underlines that as the trials have concluded, her company is determined to appeal all rulings that do not serve its interests.
Oracle points out that Intel and HP "stopped developing systems years ago," which means that Oracle was released from any contractual obligations.
HP Enterprise has not made any official statement on the subject.
John Schultz, the executive vice president and general counsel of HP Enterprise, notes that his company is satisfied with the jury's verdict.
"The verdict affirms what HP has always known and the evidence overwhelmingly showed," Schultz affirms.