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HP's 'vindictive' Mark Hurd lawsuit

Ousted HP CEO Hurd has signed on with Oracle, and HP is suing. Is this business, or personal?

Hewlett-Packard's messy ouster of CEO Mark Hurd got even messier when Hurd agreed to work as a top executive at rising competitor Oracle. Now, HP is suing Hurd, and possibly Oracle, for implicitly violating a confidentiality clause he signed to get his $35 million-plus severance package. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison criticized HP's suit as a "vindictive" sabotaging of the two companies' business partnership. Is HP really worried about Hurd's "threatened misappropriation of trade secrets," or is something else going on? (Watch a Bloomberg discussion about the lawsuit)

HP's just trying to pester Hurd: The whole Hurd-HP-Oracle soap opera is puzzling, says Mike Masnick in Techdirt, but "the most credible explanation I've seen so far" is that HP's board ousted the thriving Hurd as payback for his investigating of the board in an earlier scandal. HP's almost-certain-to-fail lawsuit, then, is just an "incredibly childish" revenge tactic by the board.
"Misguided insult to misguided injury: HP sues..."

Ellison drove them to it: HP's right to be worried, says Robert Cyran in Reuters' BreakingViews. Oracle's hiring of Hurd is a deliberate, shrewd act of "war" by Ellison, a disciple of famed Chinese strategist Sun Tzu. HP's also right that Hurd's "most valuable attribute" to Oracle is his intimate knowledge of its business plans and clients. As Sun Tzu says, "know your enemy." Now Oracle does.
"Oracle shows off art of war by hiring Mark Hurd"

Fight! Fight! Fight!: "If HP didn’t sue, that would have been a surprise," says Om Malik in GigaOm. So Hurd must have "an ace up his sleeve" to risk his "awfully generous settlement" by joining Oracle. The "Machiavellian theory" for this lawsuit is that Ellison and Hurd were expecting it, and will let the "legal hostilities" distract HP until its business is in "chaos." Whatever the cause, with a "fight this juicy" breaking out, "I am ready for the show!"
"HP vs Mark Hurd & Oracle: The Machiavellian version"

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