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Hewlett-Packard Wins Dismissal of Oracle Fraud Claim Over Hurd

Hewlett-Packard Co. won dismissal of Oracle Corp.’s claim that it was duped into settling a dispute over its hiring of HP’s former chief executive officer, Mark Hurd,.

Oracle alleged that HP fraudulently hid that it was planning to hire Leo Apotheker as CEO and board chairman Ray Lane, who were “toxic” to any partnership with Oracle, when it forged a settlement with Oracle over its hiring of Hurd. Oracle also claimed that HP concealed that it was secretly paying Intel Corp. $88 million a year to “artificially continue” the Itanium chip’s lifespan.

A state judge in San Jose, California, said in a ruling yesterday day that HP’s alleged misrepresentations “did not prevent Oracle from participating in the negotiations” over the Hurd settlement “or deprive Oracle of the opportunity to negotiate.”

Judge James Kleinberg also rejected bids by both companies to seal documents in the case that they argued contain sensitive business information that that might harm them or their customers.

In June, HP, based in Palo Alto, California, sued Oracle over its decision, announced in March, to no longer support database software on HP computer servers that use the Itanium chip. The suit escalated tensions between the companies that flared after Oracle hired Hurd as a co-president.

‘Another Attempt’

HP said yesterday in an e-mailed statement that the fraud claim dismissed by the court “was another attempt by Oracle to get out of the contract it entered into with HP, wherein it continued to offer its product suite on HP’s server platform.”

Oracle said in an e-mailed statement that it’s pleased with the judge’s refusal to seal HP documents.

The court “has rejected HP’s attempt to hide the truth about Itanium’s certain end of life from its customers, partners and own employees,” Oracle said.

Deborah Hellinger, a spokeswoman for Redwood City, California-based Oracle, declined to comment on the dismissal of the fraud claim.

The case is Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Oracle Corp., 11-cv-203163, California Superior Court, Santa Clara County.

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