What Larry found when Oracle bought Sun

Larry Ellison doesn’t do a lot of interviews. But in a recent confab with the Reuters news service, the Oracle CEO offered up some typically unvarnished opinions about prior management at Sun Microsystems, the once-great computer-maker that had fallen on hard times when Oracle bought it for $7.4 billion earlier this year.

Though much of the interview covered familiar ground, it offered some interesting tidbits as Ellison described some of the inner workings of Sun’s operation – including what’s characterized as outdated manufacturing and distribution systems, inefficient sales commissions, wasteful spending and bad management at the very top levels.

“The underlying engineering teams are so good, but the direction they got was so astonishingly bad that even they couldn’t succeed,” Ellison said.

Ellison offered what appeared to be a sharp dig at Jonathan Schwartz, the pony-tailed CEO who ran Sun before the sale to Oracle and who was known for diligently blogging about the company’s strategy and products.

“Really great blogs do not take the place of great microprocessors. Great blogs do not replace great software,” Ellison said. “Lots and lots of blogs does not replace lots and lots of sales.”

Ellison also gave some hints about future acquisitions as he attempts to transform his hugely successful software company into a full-service purveyor of integrated data center systems. Short summary: Oracle may be looking to buy more hardware companies. “We’ll buy in all areas of our business,” Ellison said.


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  • Steven Mitchell

    It wishes it was IBM. IBM is still a large company with a technology base that predates Sun Microsystems and yet IBM survives as one of the largest technology companies in the world, if not the largest…

  • Charles Tran

    I am so much happier today to see interview from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Most important of all, he sees values and challenges facing Sun and its customers.
    Sun is in good hands. I am also impressed with all progress. We rarely had a great merger, it is beneficials for Oracle, Sun, and customers in 2011 and beyond.

  • Oily Riser

    Why can’t Oracle stop the oil mess? Any minor Master of the Universe ought to know how.