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HP and Oracle, now headed for a split, could have split up Sun

Stephen Lawson | June 11, 2012
One of the more surprising episodes in Hewlett-Packard and Oracle's ill-fated enterprise IT partnership was touched upon for only a few minutes during testimony in their breach-of-contract trial earlier this week. But that event -- fruitless talks aimed at a joint acquisition and breakup of Sun Microsystems -- may have been one of the sources of their current rancor.

Because it bought all of Sun, Oracle is well positioned to offer those kinds of packages, he said. Its Exadata database and Exalogic application systems now have integrated software and storage, computing and networking hardware made by Oracle.

However, no one wins it all, as evidenced by the outcome of another lengthy trial that ended just in May about an hour's drive north of the San Jose court. Late last month, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the Java APIs (application programming interfaces) used in Google's Android OS are not eligible for protection under U.S. copyright law. A jury earlier had cleared Google of patent infringement in the case, which Oracle plans to appeal.

"The assumption at the time was that whoever bought the company was going to have a gold mine in Java, and that hasn't actually worked out very well," Pund-IT's King said.

Additional reporting by Chris Kanaracus in Boston.


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