Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison issued on Tuesday a strongly worded criticism of Hewlett Packard(HP) and its lawsuit against HP’s former Chief Executive Mark Hurd, suggesting that Oracle might discontinue its 25-year partnership with HP.
“Oracle has long viewed HP as an important partner,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in a statement. “The H-P board is acting with utter disregard for that partnership, our joint customers, and their own shareholders and employees. The H-P Board is making it virtually impossible for Oracle and H-P to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace.”
In a civil lawsuit filed with the Superior Court of California for the County of Santa Clara, HP contended that Hurd had received millions of dollars of compensation with the promise of keeping the Silicon Valley printer and software maker’s trade secrets intact. At Oracle, which competes in enterprise software and servers, HP claims Hurd can’t do his new job without spilling the beans on HP’s most important trade secrets.
Oracle, the world’s second-biggest software company, announced the hiring yesterday and said Hurd would serve as a board member, reporting to CEO Larry Ellison. He would bring expertise in using acquisitions to spur growth. At HP, Hurd more than tripled profit by cutting costs and expanding beyond the company’s core business of computers and printers.
Ellison’s strongly worded comments come just a day after Hurd was appointed as co-president of Oracle, a move that prompted H-P’s lawsuit earlier on Tuesday. The appointment follows Hurd’s resignation from H-P last month amid questions about his personal conduct.
Hurd was forced to resign in early August following an internal investigation of sexual harassment claims brought by a former HP contractor and revelations of expense accounting irregularities. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, a friend of Hurd’s, called HP’s decision to fire Hurd “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.”