Hurd pitches Oracle hardware in brief appearance

Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:09pm EDT

* Announces new Exadata storage server

* Closely watched remarks follow exit from HP

By Gabriel Madway and Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - In his first public appearance since joining Oracle Corp ORCL.O, Mark Hurd avoided controversy and delivered a straightforward sales pitch for the company's nascent hardware business.

In brief, but closely watched remarks at Oracle's annual user and technology conference, Hurd made no mention of his former employer, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N), where he was chief executive until early last month.

Hurd told the audience on Monday he was "thrilled" to be on stage at the Oracle OpenWorld conference.

"I've been coming to these events for a while and I'm glad to be part of the team," Hurd said.

Hurd, who was credited with resuscitating HP after he took over in 2005, was ousted from the company on Aug. 6. HP said Hurd filed inaccurate expense reports related to a female marketing contractor who worked for his office.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison named Hurd, his close friend, co-president a month later after publicly lambasting HP's board for pushing him out.

HP sued Hurd to block him from joining Oracle. Relations between the two Silicon Valley giants, who count more than 140,000 joint customers, have been strained ever since.

Oracle, the world's third-largest software maker, is moving to compete in hardware following its multibillion acquisition of Sun Microsystems earlier this year. That push will bring the company into closer competition with HP.

Hurd on Monday announced a new storage server, the Exadata X2-8, which combines technology acquired in the Sun deal with Oracle's database software.

"It's a complete system, ready to run," he said. "An integrated system, optimized, fully supported, serviced by us, one company accountable. We're doing everything."

Oracle is looking to double its hardware business, taking share from IBM (IBM.N) and others.

Shares of Oracle fell 1 percent to $27.20 on the Nasdaq in afternoon trading. (Reporting by Gabriel Madway and Noel Randewich. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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