Oracle abruptly drops chip developed with Intel, HP

Mar 24, 2011 By John Letzing

Oracle Corp. made waves on Wednesday with a sharply worded announcement that it will cease all efforts to develop technology around Intel Corp.'s Itanium chip - a move that apparently took both Intel and its partner Hewlett-Packard Co. by surprise.

Oracle said its decision on the chip came "after multiple conversations with Intel senior management," which made it clear that "their strategic focus is on their x86 microprocessor and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life."

But Intel has poured a considerable amount of resources into Itanium over the years in partnership with HP, and the chip company appeared to take issue with Oracle's proclamation, which was revealed late Tuesday.

"As a result of recent announcements from Oracle, Intel is taking this opportunity to directly reiterate its plans for the Itanium processor," Intel said in a statement. Intel said its "work on Intel Itanium processors and platforms continues unabated with multiple generations of chips currently in development and on schedule."

HP also seemed to be taken aback. On his Twitter feed, Bill Wohl, HP's spokesman, wrote that Oracle's "Itanium move penalizes customers as Oracle makes (a) crude attempt to shore up (its) failing Sun server business."

Oracle has been coming into sharper competition with HP and other hardware makers of late, and its purchase last year of has endowed it with a considerable hardware business of its own.

In addition to adding a line of servers, the Sun acquisition also gave Oracle Sun's line of Sparc processors.

Oracle noted that others such as Microsoft Corp. have also ceased developing software for Itanium. The processor, designed to run large, powerful servers for businesses, has drawn some criticism over the years, as early sales disappointed.

However, stressed that its release of a new version of Itanium, dubbed Poulson, is evidence of its commitment to the .

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