Technology

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from the L.A. Times

Category: Oracle

Oracle pulls out of Intel's Itanium server processor

Oracle is stopping development of all of its software on Intel's Itanium software processor after concluding that "Itanium is nearing the end of its life."

Starting something of a furor online, the move, announced late Tuesday, directly contradicts recent pronouncements from Intel about its commitment to the Itanium processor family used in high-performance computing systems and found in a large number of customers' data centers.

"After multiple conversations with Intel senior management Oracle has decided to discontinue all software development on the Intel Itanium microprocessor," Oracle said in a statement. "Intel management made it clear that their strategic focus is on their x86 microprocessor and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life."

"Both Microsoft and Red Hat have already stopped developing software for Itanium," Oracle's statement continues. "HP CEO Leo Apotheker made no mention of Itanium in his long and detailed presentation on the future strategic direction of HP."

Red Hat first pulled out of Itanium in 2009 after saying that its Enterprise Linux 6 operating system, released last summer, would not be supported on Itanium processors. Microsoft announced last April that it too was stopping developing software supported on Itanium.

Oracle's decision affects not only Intel but also Hewlett-Packard, which runs its HP-UX Unix operating system on Itanium Integrity servers.

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Obama tech dinner: Company spending figures for D.C. lobbying, campaign contributions

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Most of the hype around President Barack Obama's dinner with a dozen of California's tech-industry leaders was around the appearance of Apple CEO Steve Jobs as he struggles with health issues.

But the dinner, which took place last Thursday, wasn't about Apple or Steve Jobs. The dinner, The White House said, was about U.S. innovation in technology and job creation.

It's also likely there was also at least some talk of President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and noted by the Sunlight Foundation, 6 of the 11 companies represented by their respective CEOs on Thursday night spent millions of dollars last year lobbying federal lawmakers in Washington D.C. through employees and political action committees.

And 10 of the 11 companies and their employees contributed financially to Obama's 2008 campaign for President.

Only the Westley Group, a Menlo Park venture capital firm, spent nothing on both lobbying in D.C. and Obama's presidential run -- though Twitter did spend zero on lobbying and gave just $750 to Obama.

Stanford Univeristy President John Hennessy accounted for the 12th seat at the dinner table. Stanford employees donated $448,720 to Obama's 2008 campaign and the University spent $370,000 on lobbying in 2010.

Company Lobbying (2010) Obama campaign contribution (2008)
Apple $1,610,000.00 $92,141.00
Google $5,160,000.00 $803,436.00
Facebook $351,390.00 $34,850.00
Yahoo $2,230,000.00 $164,051.00
Cisco Systems $2,010,000.00 $187,472.00
Twitter $0.00 $750.00
Oracle
$4,850,000.00 $243,194.00
Netflix
$130,000.00 $19,485.00
Stanford $370,000.00 $448,720.00
Genentech $4,922,368.00 $97,761.00
Westly Group $0.00 $0.00

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Apple's Steve Jobs photographed at dinner with Obama, California tech leaders

Obama to meet with CEOs of Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, others

Apple's Steve Jobs scheduled to meet with Obama on Thursday

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: President Barack Obama talks with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg before a dinner with technology business leaders in Woodside, Calif., on Thursday. In the background are Carol Bartz, Yahoo president and CEO; Art Levinson, Genentech chairman and former CEO; Steve Westly, founder and managing partner of the Westly Group; and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman and CEO of Google.
Credit: Pete Souza, the White House/Flickr

Apple's Steve Jobs photographed at dinner with Obama, tech leaders

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Updated 8:29 a.m. with White House statement.

In the first authorized photo since his medical leave in January, Apple chief Steve Jobs appears alongside President Obama and Silicon Valley technology leaders at a dinner Thursday night, raising a glass at a Woodside, Calif., dinner.  Jobs' back is turned to the camera.

Also visible in the photgraph, released by the White House Friday, are Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Oracle chief Larry Ellison, and the remainder of the guest list the Times published Thursday.

In the photograph, Jobs is to the immediate left of the president, with Zuckerberg to the right. Here's a blow-up of the image that shows the trio more closely.

Jobs-obama-big

A statement released by the White House Thursday night detailed the event:

"This evening, the President joined twelve leaders from technology companies to discuss ways to work together to invest in American innovation and promote private sector job growth.  In the President’s State of the Union Address, he called on us to win the future by out-innovating and out-educating the rest of the world and increasing American competitiveness.  The President believes that American companies like these have been leading by investing in the creativity and ingenuity of the American people, creating cutting-edge new technologies and promoting new ways to communicate.  The President specifically discussed his proposals to invest in research and development and expand incentives for companies to grow and hire, along with his goal of doubling exports over five years to support millions of American jobs.  The group also discussed the importance of new investments in education and the new White House initiative Startup America, a partnership with the private sector aimed at supporting new startups and small businesses. The President expressed his desire to continue a dialogue with the group to share new ideas so we can work as partners to promote growth and create good jobs in the United States."

A report by the San Francisco Chronicle notes that many of the leaders present have been longtime Democratic donors, and considers the event in the light of election-season fundraising.

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-- David Sarno
twitter.com/dsarno

Images: Tech leaders raise a glass at a dinner with President Obama on Thursday.  Credit: The White House

Official list of attendees at Obama tech meeting: CEOs of Twitter, Netflix, Oracle, Yahoo, others

Here's the official list of attendees of Thursday evening's meeting of technology industry chiefs with President Obama in San Francisco. It includes many of Silicon Valley's biggest names.

  • John Doerr, partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Carol Bartz, president and CEO, Yahoo!
  • John Chambers, CEO and chairman, Cisco Systems
  • Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter
  • Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO, Oracle
  • Reed Hastings, CEO, NetFlix
  • John Hennessy, president, Stanford University
  • Steve Jobs, chairman and CEO, Apple
  • Art Levinson, chairman and former CEO, Genentech
  • Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO, Google
  • Steve Westly, managing partner and founder, Westly Group
  • Mark Zuckerberg, founder, president and CEO, Facebook

From a description of the meeting by a White House official:

The meeting is a part of our ongoing dialogue with the business community on how we can work together to win the future, strengthen our economy, support entrepreneurship, increasing our exports, and get the American people back to work. The President and the business leaders will discuss our shared goal of promoting American innovation, and discuss his commitment to new investments in research and development, education and clean energy."

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-- David Sarno [follow]

Facebook moving headquarters from Palo Alto to former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park

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Facebook is moving its headquarters from Palo Alto to the nearby former home of Sun Microsystems in Menlo Park.

David Ebersman, Facebook's chief financial officer, formally announced the move Tuesday morning in a news conference at the 57-acre Menlo Park property.

FacebookMenloParkCampus Facebook signed a 15-year lease for the Menlo Park campus with the option to buy it in five years, according to a company spokeswoman who asked that she not be named because she was not authorized to speak on the details of the lease.

The world's most popular social media website will start moving employees into the new campus in June or July and workers will probably continue to trickle into the new offices through late 2011 or early 2012. Facebook's leases in Palo Alto last through 2013, according to a company statement.

The new campus is about six miles from the two Palo Alto locations that make up Facebook's current headquarters.

The Menlo Park campus is made up of 11 buildings with about 1 million square feet of office space.

There are about 3,700 parking spaces at the Menlo Park campus. Facebook currently has more than 2,000 employees, with about 1,400 of them currently in Palo Alto, and is expected to grow its workforce.

The Menlo Park complex was built between 1993 and 1995 and was Sun's headquarters until it was purchased by Oracle in January of last year.

Facebook also bought a nearby 22-acre tract of land that is connected to its soon-to-be headquarters by a tunnel underneath the Bayfront Expressway. The social networking giant made that purchase in preparation for a possible future expansion of the Menlo Park headquarters, the company said in a statement.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: (Top) A November 2008 photo taken of the former Sun Microsystems and future Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park. Credit: Rick Stuart via Flickr

Image: (Bottom) A bird's eye view of the Menlo Park campus that Facebook will move into. Credit: Microsoft's Bing Maps

Steve Jobs and Apple probably picked the best day to announce medical leave

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Steve Jobs and Apple might have picked the most ideal time possible to announce his medical leave -- on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, when the U.S. markets are closed, and just before releasing news of a 78% earnings increase.

And the decision to announce Jobs' break from day-to-day duties at Apple is probably a calculated one, as are many of the moves made by the secretive tech giant.

Andy Zaky, writing for Seeking Alpha, said he found the Jan. 18 release date for Apple's fiscal first-quarter earnings report "extremely peculiar" when it was announced a month ago.

"Here's why: Since 2007, Apple has always chosen to report earnings during the last week of the month in order to avoid the manipulation that usually comes with options expiration week," Zaky wrote. "If you go back at least 14-16 quarters, Apple has reported during the last week of the month in every one of those reporting periods."

The Tuesday earnings announcement, however, makes a lot more sense given Jobs' announcement that  he was taking an indefinite hiatus because of health issues.

John Gruber, writer of the popular tech blog Daring Fireball, wrote: "With the holiday yesterday and blockbuster results today, I think it's fair to say that yesterday was the single best day of the entire calendar year on which Jobs could have announced a medical leave of absence."

Apple reported a $6-billion profit on a record-setting revenue of $26.74 billion, largely on the success of the iPhone and the iPad.

One unintended consequence from Jobs' temporary decrease in duties at Apple is an apparent benefit for its competitors, as reported by Times columnist Tom Petruno over at our sister blog, Money & Company. Petruno wrote:

What's potentially bad for Apple -- co-founder Steve Jobs' surprise decision to take another medical leave of absence -- might have been viewed as good for the company's many tech rivals.

Nobody ever accused Wall Street of having a heart, after all.

While Apple dropped $7.83, or 2.2%, to close at $340.65, shares of Google Inc. surged $15.45, or 2.5%, to $639.63, a three-year high. Google's Android smart phone operating system is going head-to-head with Apple's iPhone, of course.

Among other tech giants and Apple combatants, Microsoft Corp. added 36 cents, or 1.3%, to $28.66; Oracle Corp. gained 28 cents, or 0.9%, to $31.53; and Dell Inc. was up 5 cents, or 0.4%, to $14.10.

BlackBerry smart phone maker Research in Motion Ltd. rose as much as 2.6% early Tuesday before falling back to close with a gain of 45 cents, or 0.7%, to $65.22.

Read more about how Apple might be helping their rivals in Petruno's post, Apple falls but its rivals gain, pushing Nasdaq index to 3-year high.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks at an Apple Special Event on Sept. 1 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Oakland jury decides SAP owes Oracle $1.3 billion [Updated]

SAP must pay $1.3 billion to Oracle Corp. for copyright infringement, a federal jury in Oakland decided Tuesday.

The verdict in the high-profile court case that pitted two business software giants against each other is one of the largest ever for copyright infringement.

The eight-person jury awarded the damages one day after the companies presented closing arguments.

Oracle sued SAP in 2007 claiming that its now-defunct U.S. business software unit, TomorrowNow, illegally downloaded Oracle software and documents and supported Oracle customers. SAP bought TomorrowNow in 2005 and closed it in 2008.

SAP did not contest that it was liable for the infringement, but estimated that it owed between $28 million and $41 million to Oracle. Oracle, however, estimated that SAP owed as much as $3 billion.

In a statement, an SAP spokesman said: "We are, of course, disappointed by this verdict and will pursue all available options, including post-trial motions and appeal if necessary. This will unfortunately be a prolonged process and we continue to hope that the matter can be resolved appropriately without more years of litigation."

[Updated 4:14 p.m.: In a statement, Oracle President Safra Catz said: "For more than three years, SAP stole thousands of copies of Oracle software and then resold that software and related services to Oracle's own customers. Right before the trial began, SAP admitted its guilt and liability; then the trial made it clear that SAPs most senior executives were aware of the illegal activity from the very beginning. As a result, a United States federal court has ordered SAP to pay Oracle $1.3 billion. This is the largest amount ever awarded for software piracy."]

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Hewlett-Packard names new CEO, steps up competition with Oracle

It's 'Goliath versus Goliath' as Oracle files patent lawsuit against Google

-- Jessica Guynn

Hewlett-Packard names new CEO, steps up competition with Oracle

The battle of the titans kicked into overdrive Thursday when Hewlett-Packard Co. appointed former SAP Chief Executive Leo Apotheker as its CEO and president. The world's largest computer maker also named Ray Lane, managing partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as nonexecutive chairman.

The two replace Mark Hurd, who held both roles. Hurd resigned last month after an investigation of sexual harassment allegations from a contractor turned up inaccurate expense reports filed by Hurd or on his behalf. He joined rival Oracle Corp., which prompted HP to try to block the move, saying Hurd could not work as president of Oracle without revealing trade secrets or confidential information. Hurd resolved the lawsuit by waiving his rights to restricted stock units.

Now Palo Alto-based HP has recruited two executives with a long history with Oracle. Apotheker, who stepped down unexpectedly from SAP this year after the board did not renew his contract, competed fiercely with Oracle for years. Lane was once a trusted lieutenant to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison before his abrupt departure in 2000.

HP passed over internal candidates to pick Apotheker. The list included Vyomesh Joshi, who runs HP's printer business; Todd Bradley, head of the personal-computer division; Dave Donatelli, who runs the storage and server unit; Tom Hogan, executive vice president of enterprise sales and marketing; and Ann Livermore, executive vice president of the enterprise business.

"Leo is a strategic thinker with a passion for technology, wide-reaching global experience and proven operational discipline -- exactly what we were looking for in a CEO," said Robert Ryan, lead independent director of HP’s board.

This is only the third time HP has hired from outside its ranks. Hurd's predecessor, Carly Fiorina, who came from Lucent Technologies, was ousted after the $18.9-billion Compaq acquisition failed to live up to expectations and HP's stock lost half its value. Hurd, hired from NCR Corp., was heralded for helping HP regain its momentum.

Cathie Lesjak, who served as interim CEO since Hurd left, will remain HP's chief financial officer.

-- Jessica Guynn

It's 'Goliath versus Goliath' as Oracle files patent lawsuit against Google [Updated]

Oracle Corp. dropped a major bombshell on Google Inc. late Thursday, kicking off what could be an epic clash of Silicon Valley titans.

Oracle filed a patent and copyright infringement lawsuit against Google over its Android software that uses technology Oracle bought when it acquired Sun Microsystems Inc. in January. Google's Android software is used in mobile phones produced by Motorola Inc., Taiwan’s HTC Corp. and others.

“In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property,” Redwood City-based Oracle said in a statement. “This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement.”

[Updated at 11:43 a.m.: A spokesman for Mountain View- based Google said in an e-mailed statement: "We are disappointed Oracle has chosen to attack both Google and the open-source Java community with this baseless lawsuit. The open-source Java community goes beyond any one corporation and works every day to make the Web a better place. We will strongly defend open-source standards and will continue to work with the industry to develop the Android platform.”]

"This is a case of Goliath versus Goliath," IDC analyst Al Hilwa said.

The surprise bid to control use of the software has sparked an uproar in Silicon Valley. The lawsuit is the first to attempt to milk money from Java. It seeks unspecific damages and an injunction. An injunction could throw a major monkey wrench into developers building applications using Android software and in the production of Android phones.

Sun’s Java lets developers write software that works on a variety of computers and systems and runs on countless mobile devices. Sun held thousands of patents but backed open source sharing. It cut licensing deals for Java, but also offered free versions. It was often criticized for not making enough money from Java.

Oracle’s maverick Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison called Java “the single most important software asset we have ever acquired.”

And Android mobile phones are emerging as a very valuable business line for Google. To date, there are 60 Android devices built by 21 handset makers. Android will be in almost a fifth of all smart phones by 2012, research firm iSuppli Corp. projects. That has set off furious competition and a flurry of patent-infringement claims including claims from Microsoft Corp., which has said that Android may infringe on its patents.

Of all the executives in Silicon Valley, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt is more aware than most of the value of Java. He worked at Sun and led its Java development efforts before joining Google in 2001.

Java is essential to Android, analysts said. "This will have an effect on Android," Hilwa said.

Android software is used by handset makers and carriers as well as legions of software developers. "All of these people are going to be concerned whether they are in compliance or if they are infringing on patents," Hilwa said. "There is all of the sudden a cloud of uncertainty over Android that could impact the adoption of Android down the road depending on how these things play out."

--  Jessica Guynn

Oracle president admits to affair exposed by giant billboards

Splashy headlines used to be the exclusive domain of Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison, known for his aggressive business practices and colorful lifestyle. No more.

Yav His lieutenant, Charles E. Phillips, president of the technology giant and a member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, stepped into a harsh spotlight this week as his spurned mistress plastered San Francisco, New York and Atlanta with billboards revealing their affair.

The three-story-tall billboard near Times Square featured a photo of Phillips and YaVaughnie Wilkins with the wording: "Charles & YaVaughnie" and "You are my soulmate forever - cep." The billboards (that have now been taken down) also directed onlookers to a website that, until it was taken down, was a virtual shrine to the affair. It showed photos of the two dating back to 2001 and includes mementos such as ticket stubs to Obama's inauguration and love notes from Phillips. Wilkins could not be reached for comment.

The stunt first reported by Gawker and then featured on the cover of the New York Post is bringing unwanted attention and humiliation to Phillips and to Oracle.

"I had an 8½-year serious relationship with YaVaughnie Wilkins," Charles Phillips said in a statement. "The relationship with Ms. Wilkins has since ended, and we both wish each other well."

"Clearly that's not the case," said a person close to Oracle.

Phillips' wife, Karen, filed for divorce in February 2008. The New York Post says the couple recently reconciled.

Oracle did not respond to a request for comment. But the affair presents a conundrum for the company. Phillips is slated to lead a meeting for industry analysts next week to discuss the $7.4-billion merger with Sun Microsystems.

Will Phillips take a gentleman's step away from the company?

Stay tuned.

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: The billboard in New York City; Credit: NotoriousJEN/Flickr

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