Tag: ellison

Ellison is up to something with Kurian

 Larry EllisonThe appointment of Safra Catz and Mark Hurd as co-CEOs at Oracle made considerable sense to Wall Street, but sources in the database firm were surprised that Thomas Kurian did not come out of it as well as they expected.

This indicates that Chairman Larry Ellision is up to something.

Kurian was appointed president of software development, but that seems to underplay his importance at Oracle.

Reuters points out that Ellison often turns to Kurian for a second opinion and affirmation on product decisions and conversations.

A former executive told Reuters that Ellison always looks back at Thomas and asks him what he thinks.

This has led many to believe that Kurian, not Herd or Catz will end up replacing Ellison when the 70 year old retires.

After Hurd and Catz were promoted, top executives worried about keeping Kurian motivated and happy. He continued to report directly to Ellison, now executive chairman of the board, along with Hurd, Catz and two others.

Ellison seems to be in no hurry to leave and was appointed Oracle’s chief technology officer in September, but he has in recent years spent an increasing amount of time on other interests, including his sailing team, and as he develops the Hawaiian island he largely controls into an eco-tourism destination.

When Ellison does eventually hand over the reins, he will want to entrust Oracle to someone who lives and breathes technology, and Kurian is seen fitting that job description best among the top executives.

However outside Oracle Kurian is an unknown. He is seen as a technologist who understands Oracle’s products inside out, works long hours, executes Ellison’s vision and is pants at small talk.

He is the man behind Oracle’s middleware business developing into a substantial enterprise and  Oracle’s vast and still rapidly evolving suite of products, from business software applications to servers and databases.

Ellison has put him in charge of the company’s move to the cloud and if he manages it, it will be difficult for his detractors to deny him the top spot.

What stands against him is his tendency not to delegate and he likes to get involved in a minutia.

However the same applies to Ellison, and it would appear that he has plans for Kurian, which should worry the Herd of Katz he has placed as joint CEOs.

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.

Larry Ellison quits

Larry EllisonMuch feared Oracle founder Larry Ellison has surprised everyone by stepping down as CEO and replacing himself with a two headed monster made from the bodies of Safra Catz and Mark Hurd.

Ellison will still be the executive chairman of Oracle’s board, as well as the company’s chief technology officer.

Catz has been at Oracle for 15 years, serving as an executive in a variety of roles. She has been a president since 2004. From 2005 to 2008, she was CFO. While Ellison has chewed up and spat out many executives, that has been fairly cool for Catz, who has not only survived but thrived.

Soft porn star fancier Mark Hurd has been at Oracle since 2010 and was previously CEO of HP. He was ousted after fudging his expense accounts while trying to pick up a b-movie starlet named Jodie Fisher.

Adam Lashinsky at Fortune revealed that Hurd was thrown out because he did not want to disclose publicly that Fisher, and her attorney Gloria Allred, were accusing him of sexual harassment. The board wanted Hurd to disclose the charge, because they knew it would eventually get out.

As Hurd fought over disclosure, the board gradually lost faith in Hurd. Hurd was not exactly popular at HP – he fired people and killed the company’s R&D budget.  This made him loved by Wall Street but unloved by HP.

It is not clear why Ellison wants out of Oracle which he founded in the late ’70s. The company’s software has become a key backbone for the internet and is widely used by the government and banking sectors.

Through aggressive sales methods, Ellison turned Oracle into one of the most valuable companies in the world. Its market cap is about $183 billion. It’s expected to do $40.2 billion in sales this year.

Ellison is the seventh richest man in the world, with a net worth of $46 billion.

But Ellison was, how do you say, a little aggressive. His motto for life comes from Genghis Khan: “It’s not sufficient I succeed. Everyone else must fail”. While Gates was spending his cash trying to save Africans from the mosquito,  Ellison was buying his own Hawaiian island, and many homes, yachts, and cars.  He was also investing huge wodges of cash to beat New Zealand in the America Cup.

All this makes his exit seem very strange indeed. In fact, we would not be surprised if he has to fend off rumours that he has some illness which prevents him from working.  It would have to be a nasty illness that stops Larry doing anything Larry does not want to do.  Of course his quitting could simply because he wants to build an iron man suit and save the world.

But Oracle Board’s Presiding Director, Michael Boskin said that Ellison had made it very clear that he wants to keep working full time and focus his energy on product engineering, technology development and strategy.


Shark hunter says Ellison needs a bigger boat

jawsTop security analyst David Litchfield has returned to hunting holes in Oracle software, after a comparatively less daunting task of finding Great White Sharks, and he apparently found  Larry Ellison’s team has not improved during his time off.

Litchfield retired a few years ago from his job of creating major headaches for Oracle and went scuba diving and looking for sharks. Apparently, the sharks gig was dull in comparison to his job hunting holes in Oracle software so he returned to dry land.

Litchfield has been looking at Ellison’s new data redaction service called the Oracle 12c. The service is designed to allow administrators to mask sensitive data, such as credit card numbers or health information, during certain operations.

However Litchfield told the Black Hat USA conference that it is packed with trivially exploitable vulnerabilities

If Oracle had followed any sort of software development life cycle instead of just paying lip service to it, every one of these flaws would have been caught. It is kindergarten stuff, he said.

Litchfield found several methods for bypassing the data redaction service and tricking the system into returning data that should be masked.

Litchfield said that it was so simple to hack the service he did not feel right calling them exploits.

He said Oracle was still not learning he lessons that people were leaning in 2003. He said that in the space of a few minutes he could find a bunch of things that I can send to Oracle as exploitable.

The data redaction bypasses that Litchfield found have been patched, but he said he recently sent Oracle a critical flaw that enables a user gain control of the database. That flaw is not patched yet but is coming.