After Oracle announced that it would stop developing new versions of its software on Itanium microprocessors, Hewlett-Packard Corp. sued Big Red for breach of contract in Santa Clara County Superior Court (Hewlett-Packard v. Oracle, 111 CV 203163). The crux of the matter was whether version 12c of the Oracle database due out in early 2013 would be available on HP's Integrity servers built on Intel's Itanium architecture (IA64).
Judge James P. Kleinber recently ruled that Oracle has a contract to continue porting its software to Itanium computers for as long as HP sells Itanium computers. Focus on "sells" and keep an eye on Intel's development for IA64. I'm guessing that Intel does not have a contract with HP like Oracle has a contract with HP.
In a company statement issued on September 4, Oracle said that it "will continue building the latest versions of its database and other software covered by the judge's ruling to HP Itanium computers." The company plans to port Oracle software to HP's Itanium computers on approximately the same schedule as Oracle software on IBM's Power systems. I'm guessing IBM has a contract with Oracle for Power Systems' support like HP has a contract with Oracle for Itanium support.
My interest in IA64 waned when Microsoft wavered on porting Windows to Itanium systems, which appeared to me to be superior to x64 systems. IA64's lack of support for 32-bit applications was key. Although WOW (Windows on Windows) did a very good job, performance was a problem and an app may as well have been on a 32-bit system rather than IA64.
Although Judge Kleinber's contract decision stands, his first take on the matter for HP and Oracle to look at "divorce" may have been a better take on IA64 technology, which is not poised for growth and more of a candidate to frustrate a contract than support one.