Channel Marker

Jul 29 2011   12:43PM GMT

Oracle to HP: Leave Adrian Jones alone

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

Oracle is demanding that Hewlett-Packard drop its trade-secret-theft suit against Adrian Jones.

Jones, a former channel chief and sales executive for HP , left in February ostensibly following former HP CEO Mark Hurd to Oracle. Now that Oracle and HP are hardware rivals the antipathy is running high between companies that were once pretty tightly aligned.

Oracle called HP’s charges that Jones downloaded HP trade secrets and took them with him to Oracle “a complete fiction. It said an investigation showed that the Western Digital hard drive holding that data was never in Jones’ possession and that HP itself created the backup files in question.

The whole saga, starting with Hurd’s ouster from HP last summer and his re-appearance as co-president of Oracle has degenerated into a soap opera involving suits and countersuits,  public letters blasting HP from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, and a whole lot of other posturing.

The real story, VARs say, is that Oracle is struggling to sell hardware in the wake of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems and HP is still smarting from bad press over Hurd’s departure and subsequent claims that his success there was more the result of cost slashing than visionary management.

This week HP non-executive chairman Ray Lane defended the new HP leadership and blasting the Hurd regime for scorched earth management.  Apotheker, by contrast, is running HP for the long term, Lane told Reuters. Lane came aboard at the same time as Apotheker.

“Mark Hurd did not invest … he burned the furniture to please Wall Street,” Lane told Reuters.

At least some observers,including VARs who loved that Hurd was accessible to them, agreed that most of HP’s success on Wall Street did result from logistics and cost cuts versus barn-burner products. Still, they remain unsure whether the new HP is doing better.

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