HP Sues Ex-CEO Hurd Over Oracle's Job Offer

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Mark Hurd recently was fired from his job as CEO of Hewlett-Packard after a scandal involving an extra-martial relationship. One of HP's main tech rivals — Oracle — wants to make Hurd its co-president. That's prompted HP to sue, claiming Hurd can't possibly perform the new job without tapping into HP's trade secrets.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

In the tech world, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle have often worked together. But now the two are at odds over Mark Hurd, the recently-ousted chief executive at HP.

This week, Hurd was named to a top job at Oracle, to help that company get a bigger piece of the computer server business. But, HP says, not so fast. It's suing Hurd, claiming he can't do the new job without tapping into trade secrets from his old one.

NPR's Richard Gonzales reports from San Francisco.

RICHARD GONZALES: In a lawsuit filed in California, HP says Hurd's action in becoming co-president of Oracle represents a serious threat to HP's business. As CEO of HP, Hurd was privy to strategic plans, including the company's blueprint for competing with rivals such as Oracle. The company says that Hurd signed a 24-month confidentiality agreement which prevents him from disclosing such sensitive information related to HP.

Hurd and Oracle declined comment. But Oracle's CEO, Larry Ellison, is on record as saying HP's firing of Hurd last month was the worst personnel decision since Apple's board canned Steve Jobs many years ago.

Richard Gonzales, NPR News, San Francisco.

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