The colourful life of Larry Ellison, and his resignation: Page 2 of 2
By Edwin Yapp September 25, 2014
Same old, same old
But for all the audacious anecdotes about his personality, his seemingly strange practices, exorbitant lifestyle and excoriating attacks on his fiercest rivals, Ellison (pic) remains a powerhouse in the business, and will continue to be one, at least for the next few years despite what some naysayers.
Beneath all the headlines of Ellison stepping down, it’s my belief that nothing much will change for Oracle in the foreseeable future, and this was confirmed by couple of analyst firms.
Writing in a guest blog, Chad Eschinger, Gartner’s vendor lead for Oracle, says while the announcement took many by surprise, the way it was introduced to the market was appropriate and the succession statements show that Ellison is comfortable turning over more of the day-to-day operations to his two new CEOs.
“Yet with a passion for the company and technology, Ellison is not ready to relinquish direct involvement in the development and direction of the company he helped found,” he says.
“Clients can expect minimal to no changes in Oracle’s product strategy or technology direction given [that] Larry Ellison is retaining product development.
“We expect, even in his new role as chairman, he will maintain the current product development course and speed for the foreseeable future,” Eschinger writes.
Concurring with this was Forrester Research, which noted that Ellison still wields decisive power and regardless of his title, the US analyst firm expects him to still make the important decisions at Oracle.
“Having recently turned 70, Ellison shows no sign that he’s ready to abandon the company he founded for a life at sea,” Forrester says.
That said, Oracle faces significant challenges in the coming years from other up-and-coming giants such as Amazon Web Services, Google and even its old foes Microsoft and SAP, as the world shifts away from proprietary software and hardware systems in favour of open source alternatives.
The root causes of Oracle’s challenges remain as it needs to speed its transition from big-ticket on-premise enterprise software to supporting cloud services and the business technology agenda, Forrester says in a research note.
“Firstly, Oracle’s sales culture focuses account managers on hitting short-term targets, often at the expense of delivering long-term customer value.
“Secondly, its sprawling, fragmented software portfolio is inflexible and expensive; and lastly, Oracle’s efforts to reinvigorate the hardware portfolio acquired from Sun Microsystems saps too much attention and resources compared with the benefit it provides to Oracle and its customers,” the firm says.
Ultimately, Forrester believes that while Oracle needs radical change, that won’t happen until Ellison severs ties, leaving his successor with a free path to take the company in new directions.
“Catz and Hurd are transitional figures, not visionary leaders. Catz and Hurd are suited to an organisation more devoted to financial engineering and executing current strategy than they are to leading deep change at Oracle,” it says.
Eventually, the day will come when Ellison will have to step down completely. But until that day comes, the company remains Ellison’s, a sentiment best reflected in a tweet by Salesforce.com's Benioff: “There always has been, [and] always will be, one CEO at Oracle.”
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