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Oracle's Ellison: 'No Interest in Being in Hardware'


Eye of the Needle by David Needle (bio)

Insights from Silicon Valley and beyond


Oracle's Larry Ellison
Oracle's Larry Ellison
Photo: David Needle
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Larry Ellison was on fire Monday night. Steve Jobs is the unquestioned master of the pre-rehearsed, carefully choreographed event speech complete with new technology props, but for off-the-cuff, tell 'em like I see 'em, entertaining bluster, Oracle's CEO gets my vote.

Ellison spoke before a packed hall at the Fairmont Hotel here Monday night "in conversation" with Silicon Valley veteran Ed Zander at a Churchill Club event. Zander, now an investor and advisor to various tech companies, has worn many high level hats over his career including president of Sun Microsystems and CEO of Motorola.

And since Oracle and Sun had a fairly chummy relationship during Zander's tenure, I expected mostly softball Q&A banter.

Wrong. Zander was great. He preceded the key question of the night, Oracle's acquisition of Sun, by asking:

"What could you possibly be thinking, why didn't you call me first?" Zander went on to detail reasons why the acquisition didn't seem to make sense. For one, Oracle's success over the past thirty years has been about a steady drumbeat of software, software and more software available on multiple platforms.

With Sun, said Zander, Oracle's getting a struggling hardware company that's losing market share.

Ellison gave Zander an "are you finished?" look and defended the deal.

"We have no interest in being in the hardware business," said Ellison.

That brought a hush to the room. Here it comes, the conspiracy theorists were right, Oracle is going to jettison Sun's hardware business...

[Continue reading this blog post at Eye of the Needle by David Needle]