Oracle loses appeal of ruling in Hewlett-Packard suit

The Itanium trial's second phase on damages is set for April

A court has rejected Oracle's appeal of a judge's ruling in the lawsuit Hewlett-Packard brought over Oracle's decision to stop porting its software to HP's Itanium server platform.

In August, a California superior court judge ruled that Oracle had a binding contract with HP and ordered it to continue supporting Itanium. Oracle filed its appeal of that ruling in October with California's 6th District Court of Appeal, which rejected it on Thursday, according to court records.

Further details of the reasons for the appeals court's decision weren't immediately available Friday.

Oracle and HP both declined to comment on the ruling.

The vendors are long-time partners with many shared customers. But their relationship soured following Oracle's entry into the hardware market with the purchase of Sun Microsystems, as well as HP's move to oust CEO Mark Hurd, who is a close friend of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Hurd now serves as a president of Oracle.

It is standing practice for tech vendors with competing products to find ways to partner, as reflected by the industry term "co-opetition." But some observers see the Oracle-HP flap as something that could influence the way such pacts are drawn up in the future, with companies exercising much more caution.

The case is scheduled to have a second phase that will focus on damages owed to HP. That phase is scheduled to begin in April, according to an HP spokesman.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
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