Oracle Wants to Fight in the Open

Since when is Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL  ) a champion of transparency?

In a lawsuit filed against the database giant by Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) over Oracle dropping database support on systems using the Itanium chip, the two tech titans have different views on how to handle the case. HP wants to slap a seal on it (the confidentiality measure, not the semiaquatic mammal) because filings may contain secrets of the Mark Hurd settlement. But Oracle would rather "that this litigation will take place in the sunshine," according to court filings.

This comes only a couple of weeks after Oracle raised a lance for open court documents in its Android and Java lawsuit against Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) . In that case, Oracle's seal-clubbing tactics (again, document seals and not animals) are working: Now we know that Oracle seeks damages as high as $2.6 billion over allegedly misused Java code in the Android platform.

HP complains that Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) is nowhere near ending support and development for the Itanium chip line, of which HP is the only significant customer. That move seems designed to scare HP customers off to Oracle's Sun servers if they want to run fully supported Oracle databases.

Oracle doesn't buy it because Intel keeps making the Xeon product line better so fast that it will inevitably do everything the Itanium can do, just as well or even better. "Now HP is suing Oracle for the temerity to tell customers the truth," Oracle blasts in the latest court documents.

Will the courts set Oracle's business direction or tell HP to get over the loss of a dying platform? I'm leaning toward the latter option, but you just never know. I still think HP would be better off just buying out Intel's share of the Itanium design, which they developed together, and then farming out the production of the chip right back to Intel. But that makes too much sense to actually happen.

To see how this drama plays out, add HP and Oracle to your Foolish watchlist. You might as well throw in Intel while you're at it -- there's no such thing as too much timely information.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Google and has written puts on Intel, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Oracle and Google. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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