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9/6/2010
09:01 AM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: Larry Ellison And Mark Hurd: The Job Interview

A fly on the wall overhears the final stages of Ellison's conversation with Hurd to have the former HP CEO join Oracle as President of Systems.

"Y'know, Larry, you're the only one I'd admit this to, but the stock-price thing almost drove me nuts! Our revenue was higher, our growth rate was higher, our product line was bigger -- heck, those sissies can't even make PCs anymore! -- but I still couldn't get our stock price within spitting distance of theirs. At this point in my career, I try not to let emotion cloud my judgment -- but I hate IBM."

"Well well, imagine that -- and the media like to portray me as Captain Ahab. I'll admit, Mark, that hate can be a useful asset, but if and only if it's channeled properly. I think that when you were at HP, you let IBM get under your skin, when you should have been making sure it was you who got under theirs."

"Not really my style, I guess."

"Can you make it your style? Otherwise this could be a short conversation."

"C'mon, Larry, you wouldn't even be having this conversation if you didn't think I fit the Oracle style. Because I had to spend a lot of my time at HP fixing things, I didn't have as much of a chance as I would have liked to play the marketplace-predator but trust me -- I can be the most-competitive SOB you ever saw."

"I'm glad to hear that, Mark. So tell me how you're going to use hardware to get under IBM's skin so bad they'll think they're having a bad case of hives."

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"Yeah, well, as you know, while I didn't really enjoy your critique of my strategy at HP with 'the infrastructure company' stuff, I see your larger point. And based on a point you just made -- but Larry, let me say, this is hard for me; I'm not used to anybody telling me what to do or how to do it. So I want you to know I'm trying, but if it was anybody but you talking to me like you have, I'd tell that other person to KMA."

"I understand, Mark. Change is hard. But it is me. So go on."

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