But [Sun] soon may no longer be a company at all as the European Union this week approved Oracle's proposed $7.4 billion buyout. It's such a done deal that Larry Ellison is planning a Hugo Chavez-style five-hour company and press event next week on the matter.
Now, granted, maybe the guy was just trying to inject into his rambling piece a little humor, or a bit of global perspective. Or maybe he got confused and was thinking of Fidel Castro, who like Chavez is also a brutal tyrant but who has legitimately earned his reputation for long-windedness for the past 60 years in Cuba.
But I would hope the state of writing or journalism or blogging in the IT business hasn't sunk so low and become so twisted that it's now funny or fashionable or clever to compare a totally above-board CEO with a freedom-crushing thug whose secret police have contributed significantly to the list of permanently missing Venezuelans.
Barney seems to find acquisitions distasteful, as the premise of his piece is "I hate when innovative companies get bought." As evidence of three such companies, he cites Lotus, Compaq, Digital Equipment-I guess no innovative companies have been acquired in the last decade-plus Sun Microsystems, and he used tomorrow's five-hour Oracle-Sun strategy and roadmap event to make Ellison available for the Chavez cheap-shot.
I'm sorry if I'm sounding like an old grouch here, but the one and only thing a media brand has going for it is credibility with readers. And when nitwits like Barney write gratuitous and vicious things about a CEO of Ellison's caliber, it just adds to the growing disillusionment so many people have these days with media properties that fail to respect the audiences' intelligence and almost gleefully engage in childish stereotypes that have zero grounding in reality.
Is Larry Ellison's everybody's hero? Surely not. Can he be hard-edged and savagely competitive? You bet he can, and those traits lead to another quality of Ellison's that Barney and perhaps others object to: he's one of the wealthiest people in the world. But most of us, rather than disdaining Ellison for his success, admire him for it and are grateful for the hundreds of thousands of jobs he's helped to create in the IT business and elsewhere, and for the prosperity he has made possible for so many.
Larry Ellison is the antithesis of the oppressive Chavez, and for Barney to have compared the two-even in jest-is simply offensive and stupid.
Barney is of course free to write whatever he wants, regardless of how asinine it might be, and judging by his Ellison/Chavez comparison, he seems intent on pushing those limits to the extremes. But unless his audience is made up exclusively of people who share his deep-seated contempt for Ellison, Barney's going to find that no one is listening because he's not saying anything worth hearing.