Oracle's Larry Being Larry (Ellison)

By Carolyn April  |  Print this article Print


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This week, Oracle's outspoken CEO held court to reveal the details of his company's finally closed acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Never dull, Ellison had plenty to say on the merger and other topics.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was in rare form this week, when he held court before hundreds of Oracle and Sun customers, partners, analysts and media, fielding questions about the now-closed acquisition of Sun—and whatever else was on his mind. Read on for some of the choicest comments.

On selling the whole enchilada—chips to applications:

"The notion of vertical integration delivers huge value to customers. It’s back to the future. Our vision now is same as IBM’s was in 1960. It’s not like this hasn’t been done before. It was done very successfully by IBM in the 1960s, and it made them the most important company in the history of the earth. Now a lot has happened and technology has moved along, but the basic architectural notion is that you can do a much better job when you have one team of engineers talking to each other than by doing everything in component pieces."

But we’ll still sell you our database:

"We are not out of the component business. We will still sell our database to you, and if you want to run it on HP machines or run our middleware on Dell machines, that’s great. Our goal is keep best-of-breed components, but also engineer those components to all work well together. We are in both businesses: best-of-breed components and complete, integrated systems. It's a unique proposition."

On rumors of massive layoffs:

"I was very upset to see articles saying Oracle was laying off half of Sun’s organization. That’s a highly irresponsible thing just to make up and print. People who did should be ashamed of themselves. Sun people went through enough angst without reading this garbage. Truth is, we are actually hiring 2,000 people over next few months. It’s twice as many as we will lay off. We are not cutting Sun to profitability, but growing it."

On taking 4,000 of Sun’s customers direct:

"Sun has a fabulous installed base of customers and pipeline of technology. We need to do a better job of delivering it directly—directly—to customers and get it installed properly. Where Sun sold primarily through partners, we are now going to take the top 4,000 Sun customers and sell direct to them. We know the technology is great, but we have to transfer that to our customers. If we do that, they’ll buy more."

But what about your channel partners?

"We have a huge number of channel partners to work with the other 31,000 customers we have, and we give [partners] the same broad range of products to sell from Sun and Oracle combined. We have our own channel program, and we will combine that with Sun. So there’s even more to sell to the 31,000 other customers. We think that this model will work better for both [us and our partners]. These are ours, these are yours. It’s a better focus for the channel.

Now, if you are a value-added partner to larger customers, then you will keep selling to those customers. If you are just a distributor of a product, like a store, then at that point we think we are better off going direct to the customer. We’d be foolish to bypass our value-added partners in the services or technology space. Be foolish to even try because customers wouldn’t let us."

Why Sun?

"Of all the high-end server companies—Sun, IBM and HP—we thought Sun had the best technology and engineering teams and had the culture most close to Oracle’s."

Regarding IBM and its database business:

"I’d say in the database market, IBM is a decade behind us except on mainframes. [IBM’s] DB2 on mainframes and Oracle’s are the two best databases on the planet, but we run on modern computer systems."

On cloud computing:

"The cloud name just drives me crazy. What is cloud computing? Is Salesforce.com? [Someone in crowd says, 'Yes.'] Good, good. Well, Salesforce uses Oracle for its database and Oracle for its middleware. So let’s understand that all this stuff is cloud computing. Everything is cloud computing.

"Now existing data centers today are feeling bad that they are not in cloud computing, so they renamed what they do as a private cloud. It’s astonishing. Who cares? We’ll continue to sell computers and databases and middleware, and that’s all the cloud is. And applications. That’s the cloud. If there is something else I’m missing, will someone else tell me? Please someone tell me now."

Dismissing the talk that in-memory databases could supplant relational databases:

"In-memory databases? Yes, SAP is going after this. We [Oracle] missed it and IBM missed it, and it’s good that SAPCEO Hasso [Plattner] and his five guys in a garage got it. It’s wacko."

Will he run for office?

"I’m supporting Jerry Brown for governor, and I hope he does a good job."