What Oracle has done and other notes

Here are some observations about Oracle's decision on Itanium, and some other topics at HP’s user conference this week in Las Vegas.

-- HP customers who run Oracle on Itanium are not happy. They see Oracle’s decision to end new development on Itanium and HPUX as an attack on them as well as HP.  

-- HP’s court case against Oracle is irrelevant to customers. Even if a court compels Oracle to continue new development on Itanium, large users will not make IT decisions on the basis of a court agreement. They won’t trust it. It may expand the window of time for a migration, but that’s it.

-- Oracle may be doing HP a favor. The Unix server market share is declining, and Oracle’s decision forces Intel and HP to make a decision now, rather than later, regarding Itanium.  If they end Itanium, HP can set its users and independent software vendors on a clear and calm five-to-10-year migration path to x86. That may be more appealing for customers than running to another Unix vendor in an overall declining market. This puts HP in a better position for dealing with the erosion of Unix server sales.  What Oracle and IBM can consider is whether HP’s response to the attack on Itanium accelerates the global shift from Unix. Will it be in HP’s interest to accelerate this shift? If Itanium is dead, it may be their best option.

(Unix, in this case, is a specific reference to non-x86 systems that generally run AIX, Solaris and HPUX. Non-x86 server shipments declined by 16% in the first quarter when compared year-over-year. These systems now comprise 28.5% of the server market, a new low point, according to IDC. Linux use has been growing.)

-- Some customers remarked privately that the 27,000 layoffs, or 8% over two years, was a “big number.” But when I asked, specifically, whether they had any concerns about HP, the answer was no. It was almost business as usual at the conference. People were there to investigate product changes, upgrades and options and network with peers. Many of the users at this conference have been through layoffs at their own firms and are realist. But that is not to say that customers don’t have questions.

-- This conference was a little different than others. Some customers arrived at it having just learned about changes in HP personnel assigned to their accounts. These changes are disconcerting to them. Longtime relationships with HP employees are being disrupted. The company hasn’t publicly outlined what divisions or geographic regions will see the most cuts, so the bigger picture is built off anecdote. As it stands, users have questions and want to know how HP will ensure support.

-- HP is coming out with a new tablet to run Windows 8. An exclusive (HP’s word) peek of it was on the trade show floor and appears to be in the 7” range. It’s made of burnished aluminum and is being designed for business use. The demo models were running Windows 7.  HP is offering few details otherwise (My photo below).


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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