Oracle to Take Partnership Along With Hurd

'Don't block our Hurd hire,' Oracle chief Larry Ellison says in threatening to end a business partnership with Hewlett-Packard.
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) --


(ORCL) - Get Report

strikes back at


(HPQ) - Get Report

with a distinctly threatening tone.

'If you make a big fuss about us taking the keys to the car, we'll be forced to run you over with it,' seems to be the pitch of Oracle chief Larry Ellison's statement Tuesday.

Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle

Ellison issued a statement late Tuesday in reaction to Hewlett-Packard's lawsuit

that hopes to block its former CEO from taking sensitive information to Oracle. Hilariously, Ellison says Hewlett-Packard can forget about a friendly partnership if the company plans to fight the hiring of Mark V. Hurd.

"By filing this vindictive lawsuit against Oracle and Mark Hurd, the HP board is acting with utter disregard for that partnership, our joint customers, and their own shareholders and employees," according to Ellison's statement. "The HP board is making it virtually impossible for Oracle and HP to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace."

Let's be clear, Hurd brings a wealth of insider info to Oracle. And it's not just the list of customers that are unhappy with HP or the product roadmap. Hurd knows the real sales juice -- the particular enticement preferences of his big fish, like attractive companionship, nightclubs, box seats and vacation villas -- that wins the big contracts.

HP argues in its lawsuit that Hurd "cannot perform his duties for Oracle without necessarily using or disclosing HP's trade secrets and confidential information."

HP is looking for an injunction from the court to prevent Hurd from taking a key position with a large competitor. Oracle's acquisition of

Sun Microsystems

earlier this year puts the company in direct competition with HP in the data-server business.

HP had Hurd sign a trade secret protection agreement in February 2009 that specifically addresses confidential information. In the documents HP provided to the public, Hurd agreed not to provide confidential information to "any other employers, either during or subsequent to my employment with HP."

The terms of the trade secret agreement seem to go beyond the standard noncompete policies that courts routinely dismiss.

On Tuesday, a month after Hurd was shown the door at HP for violating the company's trust and ethics guidelines, his friend and defender, Oracle chief Ellison hired Hurd.

The move to bring a staff slasher to the always acquisitive Oracle was seen by investors as a good fit. And in a perfectly round-peg-in-round-hole way, the

ethics tainted Hurd

will replace Oracle's co-president Charles Phillips, who has been the subject of controversy after his extramarital affair was exposed on city billboards.

Oracle's shares, after closing up nearly 6% Tuesday at $24.26, were starting to lose some shine Wednesday, moving down 1% to $24 in early trading as investors brace for a fight over the car keys.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: follow Scott on Twitter, go to>To send a tip, email: