Hey Larry, tell us what you really think about Apple’s future

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, never one to mince his words about anything, pretty much made clear to CBS This Morning’s Charlie Rose that he thinks Apple is done, finished, kaput.

Yes, the world’s third-richest man still likes and respects Apple CEO Tim Cook. But without his old friend Steve Jobs around anymore to ride herd over Apple’s mad-genius workforce, the company’s best days are behind it.

If investors gave Ellison’s take much stock, they certainly weren’t showing it in early trading on Wall Street where Apple stock climbed nearly 1 percent.

No matter. Ellison, who rarely speaks publicly with the press but who sat down with Rose at the billionaire’s  compound south of San Francisco to chat a bit about Apple, Google and the NSA leaks, was full of strong opinions.  After briefly bashing Google chief Larry Page for what Ellison basically called that rival’s theft of Oracle’s software tools, Ellison was asked by Rose:  “Let’s talk about Steve Jobs.”

And Ellison was off to the races:

Rose:  “What is it about him? You — we recognize the fact that he loved Apple and he wanted to make Apple great and he did. But what was it about him that enabled him to do it, other than he worked hard?”

Ellison:  “He was — he was brilliant. I mean, our Edison. He was our Picasso. He was an incredible inventor.”

Rose:  “So what happens to Apple without Steve?”

Ellison: “Well, we already know . . . We saw — we conducted the experiment . . . it’s been done.”

Ellison, who called Jobs “my best friend for 25 years”  and appeared emotional at times, reminded Rose about Jobs’  forced departure in the mid-80s from the company he had founded and how that move did not bode well for Apple.

“We saw Apple with Steve Jobs,” said Ellison as he shot his finger up in the air to indicate the company’s  good fortunes in its first heyday .  “We saw Apple without Steve Jobs,”  he said, lowering his finger to show its subsequent fall from grace.  “We saw Apple with Steve Jobs,”  he said, and the finger went up again, indicating Apple’s second heyday.

Ellison paused and then said “Now, we’re gonna see Apple without Steve Jobs.”

That finger stayed put for a brief moment, hovering mid-air before it was lowered one more time by its owner.

“He’s irreplaceable,” Ellison said of his old friend. And Apple “won’t be nearly as successful because he’s gone.”

So you’ll bet on Apple to fail? Rose asked.

“I”m not shorting” Apple stock, he replied. “I like Tim Cook.”

Photo credit: Forbes.com



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  • sd

    As I responded in another post, I think Ellison is *way* off base in his comments on government spying. But I think he’s right on target here.

    Despite thousands of Apple employees inculcated with “The Apple Way”, Jobs often — and accurately — redirected their solutions to meet his singular viewpoints on How Things Should Work. I don’t see Cook or Jony Ive or anyone else having that kind of power — or track record of success.

    Jobs was a visionary. It’s impossible to argue that Jobs’ iPod has had the same effect on the world as Edison’s light bulb or phonograph. But Jobs’ ability to focus on product design and features which would spell success for Apple’s version of a product has few peers in American business.

    Apple still will be successful, for years anyway. But I think the business world is still waiting to see if Apple can create the next Macintosh/iPod/iPhone/iTunes. That ability is as much a part of Apple’s brand as anything else coming out of Cupertino.

  • roger draper

    Steve Jobs was a lot things, many of them extraordinary from a commercial standpoint. But do not confuse his brand of genius with that of Edison, Bell or Marconi. He was Henry Ford, not Charles Duryea. A brilliant innovator, absolutely. An inventor? No.

    • patti

      Edison ripped off Tesla..Edison was wrong about DC vs AC. But he was politically savvy. Jobs was a brilliant as Edison. Many were researching electricity in Europe and the USA. Edison got way to much credit.

      Ford invented a car but he had no vision to expand on the product line. It stayed black. Jobs morphed Apple from a personal computer company to an entertainment company. Ford had no vision to do that. His son did though and so did his competition.

      • roger draper

        I’m not challenging Jobs’ genius (re-read my comment). I worked with him for three years. As for the whole Tesla vs. Edison thing, totally irrelevant to this discussion, I suppose it depends on whose lie you choose to believe. I stand on my comment. Jobs was an brilliant innovator and visionary. Whose absence is keenly felt at AAPL. But he did not invent anything.

  • Paul

    Google is evil and Apple is finished. Project much Larry?