Hewlett-Packard was scared. Terrified. Trembling. And why shouldn’t they have been, after seeing what happened to Sun only months before?
That was the corporate reaction, apparently, when Hewlett-Packard leaders heard of Oracle hiring Mark Hurd. They immediately assumed the worst- a hostile takeover in the works, with Oracle being hostile and them being taken over. Oracle’s reaction?
“I said, ‘Are you kidding me?‘” says Dorian Daley, Oracle’s senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, who had been a key player in the negotiations with HP. In the immediate wake of this, both HP and Oracle sought to make a quick agreement to preserve the peace, generally called the Hurd Agreement. The most important piece of the agreement? That Oracle could not move forward with any takeover bids for a certain period of time. Apparently thrown in there as well was that Oracle would continue supporting HP’s Itanium chips. And that, my friends, is the core of the HP and Oracle trial.
On the other hand, Oracle co-President Safra Catz claims she was “shocked” when she heard about the HP suit. After her conversation with then-Hewlett Packard Vice President Ann Livermore, she’d thought the agreement between the corporations was crystal clear, and the Itanium topic was “out of place” with the business they were discussing.
This all has been revealed during the ongoing HP-Oracle trial, which is scheduled for completion on June 25. And thank goodness. The suspense is killing us. Seriously, can this get any more melodramatic?