Oracle ordered to pay $3bn damages to HP

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Oracle said it would challenge the decision to award damages

Electronics firm Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has been awarded $3bn (£2.26bn) in damages in a legal dispute with software giant Oracle.

The row came about because Oracle reneged on a contractual agreement to continue making software that ran on high-end Itanium chips.

The court battle over the contract was settled in 2012 but the damages HPE was due have only now been agreed.

Oracle said it would appeal against the court’s decision.

Split business

HP was split into two in 2015 with HPE taking over the running of its servers and services business.

In court, HPE argued that although the 2012 legal judgement meant Oracle had resumed making software for the powerful chips, its business had suffered harm. It argued that Oracle took the decision in 2011 to stop supporting Itanium in a bid to get customers to move to hardware made by Sun – a hardware firm owned by Oracle.

Oracle said that its decision in 2011 was driven by a realisation that Itanium was coming to the end of its life. It also argued that the contract it signed never obliged it to keep producing software in perpetuity.

Intel stopped making Itanium chips in late 2012 and many companies that used servers built around them have now moved to more powerful processors.

The jury in the case agreed with HPE and said it was due compensation for lost sales caused by Oracle’s actions.

Oracle said its appeal would seek to overturn the original decision that it breached the contract and to get the damages dismissed.

The damages decision comes a month after Oracle lost a court case against Google that centred on the Java programming language. Oracle sought $9bn (£6.8bn) damages in that case.

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