A California jury on Thursday ordered business software giant Oracle Corp to pay Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE) US$3.1 billion for backing off a promise to support data servers powered by Itanium chips.
Oracle said it had acted properly in the situation and that it planned to appeal.
“Two trials have now demonstrated clearly that the Itanium chip was nearing end of life, HP knew it and was actively hiding that fact from its customers,” Oracle general counsel Dorian Daley said in a statement. “Five years ago, Oracle made a software development announcement, which accurately reflected the future of the Itanium microprocessor.”
HPE argued that Oracle breached a contract when it decided in 2011 to stop offering products running on its servers powered by Itanium chips made by Intel Corp.
Oracle said it never believed it had a contract to indefinitely make its software work on Itanium servers, saying that then-Hewlett-Packard Co and Intel stopped developing the systems years ago.
An initial trial four years ago ended with a state court judge ruling that there had been a contract.
The jury decision on Thursday in a California state court in Silicon Valley focused on damages in the case. The verdict requires Oracle to pay US$3.1 billion in damages to HPE for breach of contract and lack of good faith and fair dealing, HPE said.
HPE has maintained that Oracle was out to get customers to switch to servers from Sun Microsystems, which Oracle bought in 2010.
Daley said that Oracle has been making its software available on Itanium servers since that judge’s ruling.
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