Hurd takes stage, begins hawking Oracle databases

Former HP chief executive briefly takes spotlight at Oracle's OpenWorld

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Still in the eye of a storm of controversy -- not to mention a lawsuit -- over his hiring by Larry Ellison to be co-president of Oracle after resigning from the top job at Hewlett-Packard, Mark Hurd is now leading the product charge for his new employer.

As IDG News Service reports, Hurd unveiled Oracle's Exadata Database Machine X2-8 on stage Monday at the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.

Oddly enough, Hurd opted not to talk about the allegations of sexual harassment that led to his departure from HP. That was a mistake. After all, what's going to better grab a convention audience's attention: sex talk or data processing? Even the geeks are with me on this. Nor did Hurd mention the lawsuit HP slapped on him after signing on with Oracle. HP argues that Hurd is breaking a confidentiality agreement by joining the company's rival, thus putting HP's "most valuable trade secrets and confidential information at peril."

In fact, Hurd didn't mention HP at all during his brief appearance (something tells me his attorneys had a hand in that call). Until the lawsuit plays out, it's probably best for Hurd to pretend HP doesn't exist -- at least in public.

Relations between HP and Oracle became strained last year when Oracle purchased HP rival Sun Microsystems. Recently Ellison criticized HP for forcing out Hurd -- who is a personal friend of Ellison's -- and then termed HP's lawsuit against Hurd "vindictive."

Sounds like relations between Oracle and HP are going to get worse before they get better.

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