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State's source code battle could impact road funding plan

Nov 16, 2015

Credit Marcie Casas

Update 2:30 p.m.: Judge Christopher Yates has ruled Hewlett-Packard must hand over the source code to Michigan.

Original post:

Michigan is squaring off with technology company Hewlett-Packard over source code for an unfinished computer system upgrade.

The state hired HP in 2005 to replace the Secretary of State's computer system. The $49 million project was supposed to be finished by 2010. 

Michigan terminated its contract with HP in August, on grounds that the company had missed deadlines and failed to deliver a complete project.

Now, the state is suing the company in Kent County Circuit Court over ownership of source code for portions of the project that were completed.

"Right now, the software that HP created is used when people renew online and pay their registration fees online," Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams said. 

Woodhams said the state needs the source code to make changes and updates to the online system.

That includes the vehicle registration increases outlined in the roads funding plan Gov. Rick Snyder signed off on last week.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said HP "failed the state of Michigan."

"Our focus now will be on looking for options that allow us to continue to provide the best possible service at the lowest cost to our customers," Johnson said in a statement.

Judge Christopher Yates is expected to rule on the matter sometime today (Monday).