Larry Ellison Discusses Steve Jobs In Interview

by Bryan Chaffin Bryan Chaffin, 12:00 PM EDT, June 11th, 2001

Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, was interviewed in the San Jose Mercury News last week, and we would like to thank Macworld UK for pointing us to the interview. The interview deals a lot with Larry’s outlook on life, his near-death experience while captaining a racing yacht in a hurricane, and the stories that abound about him. The interviewer, Peter Delevett, also asks him about Steve Jobs and the relationship he has with him. From the interview:

Q Another person who has a certain mythology about him is your friend Steve Jobs. Everybody seems to believe they know the book on Jobs: he’s brilliant but hard-driving, overly sensitive. Do you and he ever talk about that?

A We almost decided to wear T-shirts: “The Mercurial Steve Jobs” and “The Arrogant Larry Ellison.”

Steve Jobs is my best friend, and I love him dearly, and he’s one of the most remarkable people on this planet. You watch him create Apple, then in one of the worst human-resources mistakes in the history of Silicon Valley — the only thing worse was when the French fired Napoleon — they fire Steve Jobs and Apple almost completely disintegrates. Then he comes back and he saves a company that was on life support.

I never see this quoted about Steve, but they once asked Andy Grove who he most admired in the PC industry, and he said, “One guy: Steve Jobs. He invented the PC industry.”

You know, we live in a very egalitarian world. We don’t like heroes. And Steve is one of these heroic guys whose accomplishments are of such epic proportions, and it gnaws away at our egalitarian sense of the world.

The rest of the interview is also extremely interesting, and includes a few questions dealing with Mr. Ellison’s thoughts on Bill Gates and his drive to make Oracle a bigger company than Microsoft. We recommend it as a very good read.

The Mac Observer Spin:

We have often learned more about Steve Jobs and Apple from Mr. Ellison than we have from either Steve Jobs or Apple. This was especially true during the months before and after Mr. Jobs took Apple back over. This may not be one of those times, but we found Mr. Ellison’s comments to be very poignant and a clear indication of how much he looks up to Steve Jobs.

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