Larry Ellison resigning as CEO of Oracle caught me by surprise. I definitely did not see that one coming. Talk about the end of an era, as a 30+ year Silicon Valley veteran there have been quite a few industry icons that stand out amongst the others: Dave Packard, Bill Hewlett, Gordon Moore, Andy Grove, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Larry Ellison are definitely in my top ten. SUN Microsystems was also one of my favorites since I’m a computer person at heart and they changed the world. So when Larry Ellison rescued SUN from IBM I was ecstatic. Unfortunately the emails I have received today suggest that clouds may be coming to which I totally disagree.
Early in my career I almost joined SUN but opted for a SUN compatible start-up called Solbourne Computer. Not one of my best ideas. In fact, it was my second worst career decision, joining Avant! being the first. I started my career with the mini-computer and saw a room full of compute power end up on a desktop with the first SUN System. That same compute power is now in a watch by the way. SUN really created the internet in the 1980s and rode the dot-com bubble into oblivion. Larry Ellison bailed SUN out in a $7.4 billion dollar acquisition in 2010 to better position Oracle in the server business against HP/Intel and IBM. Larry Ellison and SUN co-founder Scott McNealy were also good friends so that probably had something to do with it as well.
Larry is probably the most ego fueled CEOs on my list and I will never forget what he said about cloud computing:
“The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we’ve redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. … The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?”
I feel the same way about the Internet of Things. It’s called embedded IC design and we have been doing it for a lifetime, right?
I had never really watched America’s Cup until Larry turned it upside down. Now I not only watch the races but my beautiful wife and I attend them whenever possible.
“I enjoy the competition and the process of learning as we compete. The whole thing is just fascinating. I don’t know what I’ll do when I retire. When I go sailing, I look around … anyone want to race? I just love competing as opposed to just going out and watching the sunset.”
Not only is Larry ultra competitive, he has no problem writing some very big checks and since the SUN acquisition is on his shoulders I’m confident those checks will continue. Thanks to Larry Ellison, Oracle is now a leading edge fabless semiconductor company and a key collaborator within our ecosystem. If you read the fine print on Larry’s resignation it says he will now lead software and hardware engineering full time without CEO interrupts. I think this is a VERY good thing for the fabless semiconductor industry, absolutely.Share this post via: