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HP has Oracle's lawsuit over Mark Hurd tossed

updated 08:40 pm EST, Tue January 31, 2012

Tensions between 2 giants continue

A California Superior Court Judge has thrown out a suit over a settlement between HP and Oracle over Oracle's hiring away then HP CEO Mark Hurd. Oracle had claimed that HP has tricked it into the settlement by withholding information about its intentions to bring in a new CEO, Leo Apotheker. Oracle considered Apotheker as "toxic" to any relationship between the two companies.

In August, 2010 Hurd resigned from the CEO position at HP after he was accused of sexual harassment. Larry Ellison, Oracle's CEO and a friend of Hurd, publicly chastised HP, saying that the board had made its worst staffing decision since "the Apple board fired Steve Jobs."

Later that month Hurd joined Oracle as president. HP responded by suing Oracle, alleging that he had violated contracts that prohibited him from disclosing trade secrets and other confidential information to HP's competitors.

Soon afterwards, HP's interin CEO, Cathie Lesjak, began making conciliatory overtures towards Oracle. Shortly after that, HP dropped its lawsuit.

Although the suit was dropped, the situation was still tense. Ultimately, a settlement was reached between Oracle and HP. Tensions again escalated after Oracle announced it no longer was going to support its database software installed on HP serves running the Intel Itanium processor. HP then sued Oracle in June over this decision. Since then, claims and counterclaims have been flying.

Oracle claimed that in addition to being "duped" during the negotiations over Hurd, HP has secretly made $88 million in payouts to Intel to "artificially continue" keeping the Itanium chip as an active product.

Yesterday, Judge James Kleinberg, sitting on the Superior Court Bench in San Jose, ruled that HP's alleged representations in the Hurd matter "did not prevent Oracle from participating in the negotiations," nor did it "deprive Oracle of the opportunity to negotiate." The judge also rejected appeals by both sides to seal documents related to the case. [via Bloomberg]

by MacNN Staff



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