Is Larry Ellison the savior of Silicon Valley?

Commentary about business and finance.
Sept. 29 2005 4:17 PM

The J.P. Morgan of Silicon Valley

Is Larry Ellison the software industry's savior?

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Oracle isn't the biggest company in the technology universe—yet. Its market capitalization is about $62 billion, less than that of Cisco ($112 billion), Intel ($146 billion), Google ($86 billion), IBM ($126 billion), and Microsoft ($273 billion). But hundreds of enterprise software companies are still out there waiting to be bought, and Oracle has a healthy stock and a growing pile of cash.

Like Morgan, Ellison is in the business of delivering an unpleasant truth to CEOs of smaller companies: You won't be able to make it on your own. Others may see his hostile bids as imperious and rapacious. But for the 61-year-old Ellison, who in 2003 married thirtysomething novelist Melanie Craft, it's just a matter of finally acting like a grown-up. As he told biographer Matthew Symonds in Vanity Fair: "It's very difficult for Silicon Valley to adjust to the notion that they won't be forever young."

Daniel Gross is an editor and columnist at the Daily Beast.