Why Larry Ellison is wrong about Apple

“Apple is a conduit for a lot of things. Technological innovation,” Chris Ciaccia writes for TheStreet. “Media attention above most, if not all, other companies. Criticism at the executive level has just started and now one of tech’s biggest names is weighing in.”

“[Oracel CEO Larry] Ellison saying that ‘[W]e conducted the experiment,’ when it comes to what Apple will look like, infers that the company will look very similar to when Gil Amelio and John Scully ran it, prior to Jobs’ return in 1997,” Ciaccia writes. “Assuming this is what he means, Ellison couldn’t be more wrong.”

Ciaccia writes, “CEO Tim Cook is the right man for the top spot at Apple for a multitude of reasons. We all know he’s not the product visionary Jobs was. That was never going to be the case. Cook was brought in by Jobs and Apple’s board for his operational expertise and ability to cut costs for Apple’s supply chain. The real brains behind Apple’s product innovation is Jonny Ive, and as far as I know, Sir Jony isn’t going anywhere for a long time. Cook gets more than his fair share of vitriol from the media for not having released new products since September 2012 (though I guess the Mac Pro doesn’t count)…”

MacDailyNews Take: No, it doesn’t count. Not until it is shipping. This lengthy product drought is either due to unplanned circumstances or Cook has lost his mind. We strongly believe it’s the former.

“…and for not having the pizazz Jobs did. What Ellison and others seem to forget is that while Jobs was taking leave of absences for being sick, Cook running the company.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Larry Ellison is the one who’s lost his mind.

42 Comments

  1. Advice from the guy who recently aligns himself with Microsoft. Somehow his insight to business success seems rather limp given that bold move of brilliance. I’d ask Larry to whip out his financials over the last couple of years and compare them to Mr Cook’s then let the chips fall where they may….

    1. Larry’s financials are OK, despite a recent trashing, but I fail to understand why, as he has thrown hundreds of millions of dollars around willy-nilly, building lavish estates, castles 100x the Palace of Versailles, buying one of the Hawai’ian Islands. Maybe real estate is just a hobby for Larry, akin to playing checkers with bottle caps. Frugality and restraint seem to be missing from his lexicon. Yeah, that inspires confidence in his pronouncements.

      1. Very few people have the mindset of Steve Jobs (or Tim Cook, for that matter), staying modest upon acquiring excessive wealth. Ordinary persons, who grew up middle class, and eventually achieved / acquired wealth (either by their own doing, or by luck — see Steve Ballmer), consider it a realisation of their dream and a chance to have everything they had ever dreamed of. And most people at some point dream of lavish estates, villas, cars, boats, private islands…

        Larry Ellison is an ordinary man. Steve wasn’t, neither is Cook.

        1. You do know that Steve, your ordinary man, was in the process of building a monster house, also a god awful ugly but super expensive boat when he died? Steve also had the same very pricey private jet that Larry has.You also know that Larry was a very close friend of Steves? I doubt you ever met Jobs, let alone shared his friendship. My guess is Larry is in a better position than you to talk about Steve Jobs.

          1. I am not disputing anything that Larry said of Jobs (I’m not sure where you got that).

            The Gulfstream belongs to Apple, not Jobs. The company did let him use it at his discretion, though, but it wasn’t at his own request. They did it as a token of appreciation for resurrecting Apple from the verge of bankruptcy.

            The house in which Jobs and his family had lived until his death is nothing special; certainly not a castle of Ellison’s proportions. It sits on a regular street corner in Palo Alto, and anyone can still walk by (even knock on door). No walls, no moats, no mile-long driveways. As for the boat, while it is certainly big and extravagant, it is just one thing — one boat. And it is half the size of Ellison’s, by the way. Steve drove standard S-class Mercedes.

            Long story short: Steve Jobs, with all his billions, had a modest house, an ordinary (albeit a luxury) car, and was awaiting the completion of his yacht. Larry Ellison has multiple mansions, a private islands, a stable of cars, a fleet of private airplanes, and fifth-largest yacht in the world. All I’m saying is, there is a big difference in how these two men projected their wealth. One flaunts it, the other never did.

            1. Yes I know the house in Palo Alto where Steve lived for years. but I am sure you know that Steve fought the powers to be over tearing down a hundred year old mansion so he could build his own dream house? And he finally got approval and was building his mansion when he died. And the boat? You did not mention that extravagance. Other little things, like Steve bought new Mercedes SL convertibles every six months. That way he never needed license plates in California. He also parked those SLs in the handicapped spaces at Infinity Loop. Diagonal across two spaces at that. The man was feared by waiters in cafes, he was surly and demanding. Employees feared his wrath. Yes oh yes, he would have been Jesus if he only grew a beard. Wake up, the man was like many newly wealthy. He was far from perfect. A genius yes, but hardly anyone you would want as a buddy.

            2. Your tainted view is an extreme and out-dated mythology. I suggest you watch and see how emotional John Lasseter is when accepting the Disney Legend Award for Steve, who he says became his brother. It is true that evidence shows he “did not suffer fools lightly”, but he was also an extemely warm and loyal friend. He was a complex human being.

            3. I agree with you. Most accounts seem to indicate that Jobs was a difficult person (a jerk, an a$$hole). But fundamentally, he was definitely NOT one of the “newly wealthy”, as you imply. He didn’t accummulate those new Mercedeses; he kept replacing them in order to flaunt the license plates law (legally). In his mind he was better and more important than everyone else, and that is how he lived his life. But he NEVER flaunted his wealth for its own purpose.

              As for the Jackling house, the plan was to build a smaller house on its site.

              My point remains: Larry Ellison, much like many other neuvau riche billionaires of the Silicon Valley (as well as elsewhere) has the urge to flaunt his riches (by buying / building multiple lavish mansions and castles, hoarding ultra-expensive cars and planes, etc). Jobs prefered perfection according to his own criteria. He lived in one house, so he owned only one house (and not multiple). He only drove ONE car. He never even got to build his “perfect” house, or ride in his “perfect” boat. And Tim Cook seems to be very much similar, in not flaunting his wealth.

  2. Agree with MDN’s take: long product delays happened in Jobs’ years, too, and it was always due to technical reasons and because of Apple’s perfectionism.

    Remember when white iPhone 4 was postponed for nearly a year because the opacity of white glass was just not perfectly right?

    It looks like Apple’s product revamping cycle is not optimal for business and share price because Apple wants products to have some specific quality or feature that just could not be done any sooner than it could be done.

    While Apple is still able to not care about marketing considerations for the sake of products, this is still Steven Jobs’s Apple.

  3. Pile on Ellison all you want but be sure to iCal his commentary. MDN’s first take here is insightful as to the malaise at Cupertino but only hopeful as to the cause. Tim’s management during Steve’s last weeks hadn’t really effected the company yet but the direction toward mediocrity was set into motion and now, here we are.

    1. Has Pixar lost its creativity? Did Ford Motor Company die off? Did Edison’s or Bell’s companies fall on troubled times? I think Larry forgot that the great inventors also know how to create a lasting legacies.

      1. The list of big names whose namesake brands have been squandered is equally long. Westinghouse comes to mind (today being slapped on bottom-of-the-barrel Chinese-made electronics). Or F. W. Woolworth; Braniff International Airlines…

          1. Well, Westinghouse underwrote Tesla’s work, who is certainly significantly greater than most others. Tesla did not build his own company, though, and today’s Tesla Motors is about the only corporate brand that touches on his genius (or tries to ride on it).

            1. Underwriting is not the same as being run by the inventor. And Tesla’s Elon Musk will go down as a great inventor and his legacy will be long lasting.

  4. Larry indeed knows that his brain was left behind in the internal Apple University with an incredible array of highly observant and competent managers used to thinking different!

    Say, Larry, had any new ideas for DBs lately?

  5. product drought for the late adopters? for who? I just got a new macbook pro retina last fall – it is the best computer apple, or any company for that matter, has ever made. My iPhone 4S just came eligible for upgrade – I don’t know many early adopters who have the iPhone 5 due to contract timing in the US – AT&T and Verizon. The 5S is going to be a MASSIVE upgrade cycle for the iPhone faithful.

    It took Apple 6 months to make my iPad 3 obsolete… and then another 12 months to come out with a new one? I’m not ready to replace it yet, but if I was in the market, are people even conscious of tablet upgrade cycles or just the brand name, “iPad”. Seems to me that the iPad product cycle is going to be right in time for the holiday quarter – makes a lot more sense to me than a March release. After the Maps debacle, I think that Apple is circling the wagons and making sure its new products reflect the brand.

    And one last thing – product drought = clone ripoff drought – the longer Apple holds out the more likely that the copiers miss holiday 2013… this is key. Everyone is just grousing because Apple is the R&D for the industry and they went dark for a while – ha ha, suck it!

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