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Oracle's Larry Ellison isn't done building his legacy

Chris Kanaracus | Nov. 3, 2014
Here's a look at some possible goals he has in mind before he finally hangs up his hat for good.

Larry Ellison may no longer be CEO of Oracle, but he's not going anywhere anytime soon. Indeed, as executive chairman and CTO, Ellison is now in a position to focus solely on creating new products and services that will cement his legacy as he enters the twilight of a legendary career in tech.

Oracle declined to make Ellison available for an interview, but here's a look at some possible goals he has in mind before he finally hangs up his hat for good.

To be number one in applications
Ellison likes to talk trash about the industry's largest business application vendor, SAP. His one and only tweet to date even took a slap at SAP, saying the company had "nothin'" but SuccessFactors for cloud applications until 2020, while Oracle already has 100.

His tweet's basic lack of accuracy aside, it adhered to an Ellison pattern: Wave away and even mock rivals, while plotting a path to overcome them.

Ellison, like SAP, has made a series of acquisitions to get a foothold in the SaaS (software-as-a-service) market and round out its on-premises app portfolio, which was built through mega-acquisitions such as PeopleSoft.

Also, Oracle's homegrown Fusion Applications are finally beginning to gain serious traction after an arduous development process and initially modest market interest.

A skeptic might question whether being number one is necessarily important, given Oracle is still making billions and billions of dollars in applications.

For Ellison it is, according to one observer.

"Larry likes to be the visible winner at what he does," said analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research.

To make (at least) one more transformative acquisition
Oracle has made plenty of acquisitions over the past couple of years, but it hasn't made one comparable in symbolic significance to the purchase of Sun Microsystems in January 2010. That move gave Oracle control of Java, which much of its software is already written in, but most of all Sun got Oracle and Ellison into the hardware business.

Rumors have swirled for years about Oracle buying Hewlett-Packard, a deal that would greatly expand its hardware footprint and also give it a sizable IT services business.

An Oracle-EMC tie-up has also been a favorite topic of speculation. Such a move would give Ellison a fistful of new weapons to battle Oracle's long-time rival IBM, while actually giving Oracle perhaps the broadest catalog of products in all of enterprise technology.

Release another Exadata
Oracle's Exadata database machine, first released in 2008, marked its entry into the hardware business, sort of. Oracle's real goal with systems like Exadata is the profits generated by all the lucrative software licenses customers load into them.

 

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