View Full Version : Larry Ellison

04-17-2012, 01:45 PM
Lawrence Joseph "Larry" Ellison (born August 17, 1944 in The Bronx, New York City, New York) is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation, one of the world's leading enterprise software companies. As of 2012, he is the third wealthiest American citizen, with an estimated worth of $36 billion.

During the 1970s, after a brief stint at Amdahl Corporation, Ellison worked for Ampex Corporation. One of his projects was a database for the CIA, which he named "Oracle".

Ellison was inspired by the paper written by Edgar F. Codd on relational database systems called "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks". In 1977, he founded Software Development Laboratories (SDL). In 1979, the company was renamed Relational Software Inc., later renamed Oracle after the flagship product Oracle database. He had heard about the IBM System R database, also based on Codd's theories, and wanted Oracle to be compatible with it, but IBM made this impossible by refusing to share System R's code. The initial release of Oracle was Oracle 2; there was no Oracle 1. The release number was intended to imply that all of the bugs had been worked out of an earlier version.

In 1990, Oracle laid off 10% (about 400 people) of its work force because it was losing money. This crisis, which almost resulted in Oracle's bankruptcy, came about because of Oracle's "up-front" marketing strategy, in which sales people urged potential customers to buy the largest possible amount of software all at once. The sales people then booked the value of future license sales in the current quarter, thereby increasing their bonuses. This became a problem when the future sales subsequently failed to materialize. Oracle eventually had to restate its earnings twice, and also to settle out of court class action lawsuits arising from its having overstated its earnings. Ellison would later say that Oracle had made "an incredible business mistake."

Although IBM dominated the mainframe relational database market with its DB2 and SQL/DS database products, it delayed entering the market for a relational database on UNIX and Windows operating systems. This left the door open for Sybase, Oracle, and Informix (and eventually Microsoft) to dominate mid-range systems and microcomputers.

Around this time, Oracle fell behind Sybase. In 1990–1993, Sybase was the fastest growing database company and the database industry's darling vendor, but soon fell victim to its merger mania. Sybase's 1993 merger with Powersoft resulted in a loss of focus on its core database technology. In 1993, Sybase sold the rights to its database software running under the Windows operating system to Microsoft Corporation, which now markets it under the name "SQL Server."

In 1994, Informix Software overtook Sybase and became Oracle's most important rival. The intense war between Informix CEO Phil White and Ellison was front page Silicon Valley news for three years. In April, 1997, Informix announced a major revenue shortfall and earnings restatements; Phil White eventually landed in jail, and Informix was absorbed by IBM in 2000. Also in 1997, Ellison was made a director of Apple Computer after Steve Jobs came back to the company. Ellison resigned in 2002, saying that he did not have the time to attend necessary formal board meetings.

Once Informix and Sybase were defeated, Oracle enjoyed years of industry dominance until the rise of Microsoft SQL Server in the late 90s and IBM's acquisition of Informix Software in 2001 to complement their DB2 database. Today Oracle's main competition for new database licenses on UNIX, Linux, and Windows operating systems is with IBM's DB2, and with Microsoft SQL Server (which only runs on Windows). IBM's DB2 still dominates the mainframe database market.

In April 2009, Oracle announced its intent to buy Sun Microsystems after a tug of war with IBM and Hewlett-Packard. The European Union approved the acquisition by Oracle of Sun Microsystems on January 21, 2010 and agreed that "Oracle's acquisition of Sun has the potential to revitalize important assets and create new and innovative products". The Sun acquisition also gave Oracle control of the popular MySQL open-source database, which Sun had acquired in 2008.

On August 9, 2010, Ellison denounced Hewlett-Packard's board for firing CEO Mark Hurd, writing: "The H.P. board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago." Ellison and Hurd are close personal friends – Hurd often plays tennis at Ellison's house. Then on September 6, Oracle hired Mark Hurd and made him Co-President alongside Safra A. Catz. Ellison retained the CEO position.

Ellison owns stakes in Salesforce.com, NetSuite, Quark Biotechnology Inc. and Astex Pharmaceuticals.

Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Ellison)