Yesterday, reported that Oracle had hired the not-quite-fired CEO of HP, Mark Hurd. The hire has raised some eyebrows, because of the terms of Hurd’s contract with HP, and the potential conflict of interest that his sudden move to Oracle might present. According to his contract, Hurd is barred from disclosing any sensitive information about HP for a period of 24 months.

HP is taking that very seriously. With annual revenue at about $115 billion, it makes Oracle’s $27 billion seem like a paltry sum. But Oracle is also one of HP’s top competitors, particularly in the business server market, so yesterday HP filed a lawsuit against Hurd to prevent him from taking his new position. The lawsuit claims that Hurd is in breach of contract and that his hiring by Oracle puts HP trade secrets at risk.

According to HP’s corporate blog, “Mark Hurd agreed to and signed agreements designed to protect HP’s trade secrets and confidential information.  HP intends to enforce those agreements.” It goes on to site the full complaint that argues Hurd would be put “in a situation in which he cannot perform his duties for Oracle without necessarily using and disclosing HP’s trade secrets and confidential information to others.

Oracle’s Larry Ellison called the lawsuit “vindictive.” Some observers see it as evidence of a growing rift between the two companies, which had collaborated for the past two and a half decades.
Read More at KCBS.
Read More at the Business Journal.