HP will have access to Intel's Itanium processor until 2022, according to Intel's Kirk Skaugen.
Skaugen, who used to be VP of Intel's Datacentre and Connected Systems Group, testified under oath during the HP versus Oracle lawsuit that HP and Intel had an arrangement that "enabled HP to have access to the Itanium microprocessor through 2022, and that HP could extend even longer". Skaugen's testimony was submitted as part of court documents filed on 23 April and gives some indication of how long both HP and Intel were expecting to push Itanium.
Oracle, which has been involved in an increasingly bitter spat with HP over Itanium and the hiring of its current co-president and former HP CEO Mark Hurd, claims Intel's Itanium was on its way out, alleging that HP mislead it and customers, leading to its decision to drop support for the IA64 architecture.
However, according to HP, "Oracle resorts to mischaracterising HP's statements, taking them out of appropriate context, or misstating the relevant timeline."
HP claims Skaugen's comments show that when HP said Itanium had a long future it wasn't lying. "By any measure, all of HP's statements regarding the length of its roadmap and the future of the Itanium microprocessor were true," HP said in documents filed with the court.
Skaugen's comments are something of a surprise, not because they show an agreement between HP and Intel - HP already admitted that one existed - but the length of Intel's commitment to HP on Itanium and the fact that HP could extend it.
HP's language suggests that it, as the customer, had the upper hand in the contract with Intel, with the firm saying, "Intel was committed by contract to continue producing Itanium microprocessors". Skaugen's testimony in court supports HP's claim.
Of course Skaugen's comments about access to Itanium doesn't mean Intel will continue to develop future chips based on the Itanium architecture, though an Intel spokesperson said Itanium development continues "unabated", with multiple generations of chips presently in development.
Intel has also said publicly that the Xeon processor is creeping into the mission-critical market held by Itanium, which suggests that even though it has to work on Itanium, HP might turn to Xeon as a cheaper alternative in the future.