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HP wins ruling in court battle with Oracle

This Feb 21, 2012 photo shows a Hewlett Packard logo in Frisco, Texas. Hewlett-Packard Co. will update investors on its progress under CEO Meg Whitman Wednesday afternoon when the world's largest personal computer maker releases its fiscal first-quarter earnings. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

NEW YORK: Computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. said it won a "tremendous" victory in its court battle to force Oracle Corp. to continue making software for one of its server lines.

A California state court on Wednesday proposed an order that would force Oracle to support HP's servers.

Oracle, the maker of database and other corporate software, said it will appeal the decision.

Last summer, Oracle said it would stop developing new versions of its software for servers running Intel Corp.'s Itanium processors, because it believed the chips would soon go out of production.

HP, the only major manufacturer of computers based on Itanium, disagreed about the future of the chips and sued Oracle, saying it had a contractual obligation to support Itanium.

The lawsuit is one element of a rift between companies that were once close partners. Oracle bought computer maker Sun Microsystems in 2010, putting it into competition with HP.

In the suit, HP accused Sun of anticompetitive behavior, seeing the elimination of Itanium support as a way to force customers to buy Sun servers.

The Itanium chip has been a major disappointment for HP and Intel, who co-developed it. When launched in 2001, it was slower than standard Intel chips, and sales have been far lower than expectations. Its demise has been a source of speculation for years, and Intel hasn't released a new chip in the line since 2010.

Oracle shares dropped 53 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $29.79 in afternoon trading. HP shares slipped 9 cents to $17.57.

 

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