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Judge dismisses Oracle fraud claim against HP

By Dan Levine

(Reuters) - A California judge has dismissed a fraud claim brought by Oracle Corp against Hewlett-Packard Co in the bitter legal battle between the two companies over the Itanium platform.

Last year, Oracle decided to discontinue its support for Itanium, a heavy-duty computing microprocessor, saying that Intel Corp made it clear that the chip was nearing the end of its life and that Intel was shifting its focus to its x86 microprocessor.

HP called Oracle's decision "anti-customer" and sued Oracle in California state court in June.

Oracle then brought several claims against HP, including one for fraud. Oracle accused HP of concealing facts during settlement talks to resolve litigation over former HP chief executive Mark Hurd's move to Oracle.

Specifically, Oracle said HP did not disclose that it was about to hire Leo Apotheker and chairman Ray Lane, who both have longstanding animosity with Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison. Had it done so, Oracle said, it never would have signed the Hurd settlement.

Apotheker has since been ousted as HP's chief executive.

In an order made public on Monday, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg dismissed Oracle's fraud claim.

"The alleged fraud did not prevent Oracle from participating in the negotiations or deprive Oracle of the opportunity to negotiate," Kleinberg wrote.

Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger declined to comment. In a statement, HP said it was pleased with the ruling.

The case in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Clara is Hewlett-Packard Company v. Oracle Corporation, No. 11-CV-203163.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Gary Hill)

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