Insight64 analyst Brookwood, who has followed Intel and other chipmakers for years, doesn't buy it. "As long as HP can sell Itanium [servers], I don't see any way that Intel will phase them out," he tells me. While it's true that Itanium has not been the success Intel had hoped, "they have gotten to the point that revenues have caught up the the R&D expenses to keep it going."
Is this just Oracle being its hardball self?
HP is saying that Oracle has a history of making unreasonable demands of its customers, relenting only when they push back, citing its takeover of PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems, and many other major software makers. Ellison wanted to pull the plug on development of legacy software it had acquired through the acquisitions, but then agreed to keep the applications going after customers rebelled, says HP's chief spokesman Bill Wohl.
I was covering Oracle very closely in that period and even sat through weeks of testimony during a trial in federal court that focused on the PeopleSoft acquisition. As far as I know, Oracle, despite its hardball reputation, surprised the industry by not forcing customers onto its own competing applications. Indeed, PeopleSoft HR has been revved a number of times by Oracle developers. When I spoke to the Connect user group's Buik, I asked her to cite a single instance of Oracle backing down after customers complained about that kind of pressure. She could not.
Is Oracle refusing to fix bugs as a way to pressure customers to drop HP's Itanium products as the suit maintains? If that's the case, I'd like to see the evidence. No one has come forward with any. It is, however, possible that some customers who are complaining were running very old versions of Oracle's database, in which case the company would be well within its rights to say the customer needs to upgrade. After all, you don't see Microsoft offering bug fixes for Windows 2000 or even Windows XP.
Yes, I could be wrong. Maybe there's something I'm missing, and one of these companies is altogether at fault. If this goes to trial, we'll discover a lot more about who's telling the truth and who isn't. But the plans of thousands of customers are up in the air because of a complex dispute between a pair of giants. Larry and Léo: Cut it out. You owe it to your customers.
This article, "The ugly Oracle-HP divorce: Customers could get hurt," was originally published by InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog and follow the latest technology business developments at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.