Lawyers for Hewlett-Packard Co and Oracle Corp are duking it out Monday in court as opening statements begin in a bitter lawsuit over Oracle's decision to end support for HP's Itanium-based servers.
The trial, in which HP seeks up to $4 billion in damages, comes just days after Oracle lost a separate high stakes case against Google over smartphone technology.
Oracle decided to stop developing software for use with Itanium last year, saying Intel made it clear that the chip was nearing the end of its life and that Intel was shifting its focus to its x86 microprocessor, according to reports.
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.
Instead of a jury, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg will decide the first phase of the trial- namely, whether there is a contract between HP and Oracle, and its terms, said HP spokesman Michael Thacker.
The big execs from both companies - such as Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison, President Mark Hurd and HP board member Ann Livermore - could take the stand.
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.