Ellison still a draw at Oracle conference

Larry EllisonDespite his surprise exit from Oracle, Larry Ellison was still the main draw at Oracle’s annual conference in San Francisco.

Ellison has given up his position as chief executive of the enterprise software behemoth he co-founded 37 years ago, however he stuck to his tradition of delivering the main presentation at Oracle OpenWorld. Oracle will now depend on a two headed CEO monster based around presidents Safra Catz and Mark Hurd.

The 70-year-old Ellison is staying on as executive chairman and chief technology officer and as far as developers were concerned it was him that they had come to hear.

Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd in a football-field-sized room, Ellison mostly pitched Oracle’s newest offerings in software and cloud computing.

But he won laughter with a handful of off-script comments about his new role at the company, including one during a demonstration of a new service that lets customers easily move applications from their own data centres to Oracle’s cloud.

“I’m CTO now, I have to do my demos by myself. I used to have help, now it’s gone,” Ellison joked. “I love my new job by the way.”

As he filled in a webpage as part of the same demonstration, he joked, “They took away my CEO title, they took away my name. It’s been a rough few weeks.”

In an IT world which has lost Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Steve Jobs over the last few years, Ellison was one of the few left who could still rustle up a good show.

Close to 60,000 people were enrolled for this year’s OpenWorld, which includes technical courses, cocktail parties and a concert by Aerosmith

Ellison apologised to the assorted throngs for skipping his keynote speech at last year’s OpenWorld to be on the water with his Oracle Team USA sailing team during the final neck-and-neck races of the America’s Cup regatta.

It was the second presentation in three days that Ellison devoted to talking up the progress Oracle has made in cloud computing, which accounts for just five percent of his company’s revenue.