Oracle’s recent announcement to cut off support for Intel Itanium, may possibly signal the end for the high-end chipset.

However, Oracle and Intel appear to have crossed wires with regards to the life of the processor. In a statement Oracle said that Intel’s management were now focusing on the x86 microprocessor family, whilst Intel dismissed claims that Itanium was reaching the end of its shelf life.

Paul Otellini, president of Intel said. “Intel’s work on Intel Itanium processors and platforms continues unabated with multiple generations of chips currently in development and on schedule.”

Oracle pointed out how Microsoft and RedHat had already put Itanium to one side and even questioned HP’s commitment.

A Quocirca analyst appeared to back up Oracle’s statement, “Itanium was a bold step in its day, but it is not fit for purpose now. Itanium is a chip that does not have any economy of scale, isn’t loved or supported fully by the development community and isn’t particularly needed by the user community.”

It is the partners that have kept Itanium going – HP being the largest one, and most entrenched. HP needs Itanium for SuperDome, so pulling out could be complicated.

Oracle has promised to support customers with existing versions of software products that already run on Itanium. The question is – how many customers are left on Itanium and is Oracle thinking of moving those remaining on to another system?