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Latest update : 2010-09-21

US tech giant Oracle has finally settled a long-running dispute with Hewlett-Packard after it hired HP chief executive Mark Hurd as its co-president. HP had filed suit claiming that Hurd taking up the post would confidentiality agreements.

AFP - US computer titan Hewlett-Packard resolved Monday a long-running legal squabble with business software giant over Oracle's recent hire of ousted HP chief executive Mark Hurd.

When Hurd was named Oracle co-president on September 6 and given a seat on the board of directors, HP filed suit against Oracle and Hurd claiming that taking up the post would violate trade secrets and confidentiality agreements.

While the terms of Monday's settlement arrangement were not disclosed, the companies said Hurd will "adhere to his obligations to protect HP's confidential information while fulfilling his responsibilities at Oracle."

Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison, who had fired back at HP by calling the lawsuit "vindictive," appeared to bury the hatchet on Monday.

"Oracle and HP will continue to build and expand a partnership that has already lasted over 25 years," he said, announcing the resolution of the litigation in a written statement.

Hurd, 53, resigned as HP chief executive in August after a sexual harassment probe uncovered subterfuge with company expenses.

The investigation found he had not broken harassment rules but was in breach of HP's "standards of business conduct."

As part of the resolution, Hurd agreed to give up rights to 346,030 shares of HP stock he was entitled to under the terms of a separation agreement, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The shares were worth slightly more than 13.6 million dollars, based on HP's New York closing price on Monday.

Hurd made his on-stage debut as an Oracle president on Monday, pitching a new data handling machine and saying it was good to be part of the team.

In keeping with the tone set by Ellison a night earlier at the kick-off of the company's annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, he steered clear of any comments aimed at HP.

Oracle struck an amicable tone at the gathering, spotlighting collaboration with HP on products for some 140,000 joint customers and making no mention of the furor over Hurd's move.

"HP and Oracle have been important partners and are committed to working together to provide exceptional products and service to our customers," said HP chief financial officer and interim chief executive Cathie Lesjak.

"We look forward to collaborating with Oracle in the future."

Approximately 41,000 people from more than 100 countries are registered to attend OpenWorld, which Oracle billed as the world's largest technology conferences.

Hurd told attendees that Oracle plans to invest four billion dollars in research and development in its current fiscal year.

He then enthusiastically unveiled an Exadata Database Machine X2-8 with beefed-up storage capacity, security, and speedy retrieval of information.

"Not a bad two weeks on the job," Oracle executive vice president of systems John Fowler quipped as Hurd turned the presentation over to him and left the stage.

Date created : 2010-09-21


    HP sues former CEO Hurd to keep trade secrets safe

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