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September 13, 2010

24

Is Larry Ellison right about Mark Hurd?

By Larry Walsh

Say what you want about Larry Ellison: he’s brash, arrogant – and often right. So the question is, is he right about Mark Hurd?

Ellison snapped up Hurd to be Oracle’s co-president soon after Hurd resigned amid business ethics allegations at H-P.

Ellison is doing more than throwing Hurd a lifeline. Ellison had been a big fan of Hurd’s even before the scandal, so it made sense that Ellison would reach out when Hurd departed H-P.  Ellison has been on the receiving end of harassment claims so he may sympathize with Hurd. And Oracle, having acquired Sun, is in the hardware business – and Hurd has plenty of experience running hardware companies: H-P and before that NCR. He was without question the best resume out there. And picking up Hurd at age 54 gives Ellison, 66, a plausible successor since the other co-president, Safra Catz is said not to be interested in the top spot.

But now the inevitable has happened. H-P is suing Hurd over the H-P intellectual property he takes with him to Oracle. Don’t bet on that getting very far. Oracle will pay some money to get H-P to go away and then the companies can go back to co-opetition as before.

Hurd will speak at next week’s Oracle OpenWorld conference.

Interestingly, H-P’s Ann Livermore will speak the day before.

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