It is no secret to my regular readers that I am not a big fan of Oracle’s Larry Ellison.
The origins of my disenchantment go all the back to the vendor’s early days when Ellison was forced to lay off approximately 10 percent of the company’s workforce due to questionable accounting practices.
Specifically Oracle sales representatives, who were encouraged to push customers to buy “the largest amount of software all at once” without actually paying the full pop, claimed these future sales in the then present quarter. Problems arose when said revenues failed to materialize leading the company to restate its earning on two separate occasions.
Not surprisingly, this led to a class-action lawsuit that was ultimately settled out of court. Even though Ellison later admitted that “Oracle had made an incredible business mistake,” for me the die was cast as it demonstrated his inability to look beyond the here and now.
In fact, in a comment I made regarding yesterday’s announcement that Oracle was acquiring social-marketing company Vitrue for an undisclosed amount, I would write:
A Bad week for Larry? First SAP acquires Ariba ( http://wp.me/p4HrB-36T ), and then he loses the Google lawsuit … is this the beginning of the end of the improbable long run of one hit Larry?
I think that it is because Ellison lacks any real vision and creativity beyond his solipsistic view of the universe and his company at its center. Or to put it another way, this is a man who at one point dismissed computing in the cloud as little more than hyperbole now making a “cloud acquisition.” Can you say Hail Mary pass . . . where is Doug Flutie when you need him?
Ellison, who when it comes to long term vision needs a seeing eye dog, acquires and assimilates organizations into the Oracle universe. This just doesn’t work because in today’s expansive and evolving global marketplace you have to be able to adapt rather than be adapted to.
As I had written in my post regarding SAP’s acquisition of Ariba (Danny DeVito Comments on The SAP Acquisition of Ariba for $4.5 Billion . . . Well Sort Of . . .), Oracle customers will be left out in the cold as a result of this mindset (i.e. ego) due to Ellison’s limited vision and strategy beyond his core traditional business.
The only advice I would offer Oracle at this point – and this is directed more towards the employees than it is senior management, pay close attention to what is happening at HP as this is likely going to be your future!