Settlement With HP Isn't Going to Happen: Oracle

An Oracle Corp attorney ruled out a settlement with Hewlett-Packard Co in a bitter lawsuit over the Itanium microprocessor, a day after the judge refused to resolve the case for either side before trial.

At a hearing in a San Jose court on Wednesday, Oracle attorney Dan Wall said a settlement of the lawsuit "isn't going to happen."

Oracle said in a court filing last week that HP is seeking about $4 billion in lost profit damages from Oracle, which argues that HP's claims are meritless.

"In this one, it is not going to work out," Wall said.

Oracle decided to stop developing software for use with Itanium last year, saying Intel Corp made it clear that the chip was nearing the end of its life and that Intel was shifting its focus to its x86 microprocessor.

But HP argues that Oracle and HP had agreed that support for Itanium would continue, without which the HP equipment using the chip would become obsolete.

HP said that commitment was affirmed when it settled an earlier lawsuit over Oracle's hiring of former HP Chief Executive Mark Hurd. HP sued Oracle in California state court last year, calling Oracle's recruitment of Hurd "anti-customer."

Oracle says HP's claims "cannot support" its damages estimate, and has countersued HP for false advertising, asserting that HP failed to disclose the terms of its contract with Intel.

Both sides attempted to convince Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg to hand them a win before trial, which is scheduled to start at the end of the month. But Kleinberg denied those motions in a tentative ruling on Tuesday.

In court on Wednesday, Kleinberg compared the case to a divorce, saying "this case appears to be the end of a marriage" between the technology giants.

"You have to give serious consideration to settlement," Kleinberg said.

HP's attorneys did not directly address the possibility of settlement at the court hearing but said they would be present for the mandatory settlement conference scheduled for later this month.

Also present in the courtroom were attorneys from Intel, which is not a party in the case, who argued against Oracle's request for financial information relating to the Itanium processors.

The case in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Clara is Hewlett-Packard Company v. Oracle Corporation, No. 11-CV-203163.