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Larry Ellison

Larry EllisonAKA Lawrence Joseph Ellison

Born: 17-Aug-1944
Birthplace: Bronx, NY

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Oracle

Larry Ellison was born out of wedlock to a 19-year-old mother, and raised by her aunt. As a boy he showed an aptitude for math and science, and as a young man he was a computer programmer for Ampex Corporation. His primary project for Ampex was crafting a large-scale database for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The database was code-named "Oracle".

Ellison put up $2,000 of his own money to start Software Development Laboratories in 1977, in partnership with Robert Miner, his boss from Ampex. The new company was renamed Relational Software Inc. in 1979, as it prepared to release Oracle Version 2, a commercial database system -- but the company had never released a "Version 1" of Oracle. Calling it "Version 2" was a marketing tactic, intended to convey the notion that any initial bugs had been worked out. Oracle sold briskly, and in 1983 the company renamed itself after its principal product. Oracle Corporation went public in 1986, and was on the verge of bankruptcy by 1990, when it was revealed that its revenues had been overstated for several years. The company has since rebounded, and been extremely profitable.

In 1996, Ellison took a month-long sabbatical, and spent most of his waking time on-line. When he returned he'd decided that the 'net was the next big thing, bigger than personal computers. Oracle started reconfiguring its software for on-line data sharing, and for adaptability to not-quite-computer products like TVs with internet access and pocket internet devices. This strategy made Oracle still more profitable.

Oracle's main competitors are Microsoft and IBM, and one of Ellison's passions is needling Microsoft. He's been a prominent proponent of efforts to break Microsoft up for antitrust violations. "I think when somebody breaks the law, they should be punished", says Ellison. He's admitted hiring private detectives to gather information on Microsoft's tactics, and charged that Microsoft funded pro-Microsoft "grassroots" political action groups that were pressuring the Justice Department to drop its antitrust prosecution. Microsoft responded that Oracle might be funding anti-Microsoft political groups. Neener-neener. David Theroux, president of the Independent Institute -- alleged by Ellison to be a Microsoft front -- said of Ellison, "anybody who stoops to whatever was done here, cannot be trusted. Oracle has apparently felt the need to employ back-alley tactics, subterfuge, and disinformation in order to achieve its aims".

Ellison's net worth dropped about $3.5 billion after September 11, as stocks plummeted and Oracle stock lost almost 50% of its value. It was at this time that Ellison became a loud supporter of a U.S. identity card, which -- he insisted -- would help prevent terrorism. Ellison has offered to provide data-tracking software for the national ID card free of charge (but with fees for maintenance and upgrades, of course). As envisioned by Ellison, the national ID card would be "optional" for native-born Americans, but mandatory for immigrants.

Ellison had a dispute with the city of San Jose, CA, and its airport, when his personal jet violated the city's jet curfew law at least six times. Noise control legislation makes it illegal for planes weighing 75,000 pounds or more to take off or land at San Jose International Airport during overnight hours, but after Ellison sued, the city granted him a special exemption to the law in 2001.

In 2000, Forbes listed Ellison as the world's second richest man, worth $47 billion to Bill Gates's $60 billion. By 2007, Forbes had Ellison slipping to fourth place, worth only $26 billion.

He stepped down as CEO of Oracle in 2014. Close friend of Steve Jobs.

Mother: Florence Spellman (unwed mother, at age 19)
Father: Louis Ellison (adoptive father)
Mother: Lillian Ellison (adoptive mother)
Wife: Adda Quinn (m. 1967, div. 1974)
Wife: Nancy Wheeler (m. 1977, div. 1978)
Wife: Barbara Boothe (m. 1983, div. 1986, one son, one daughter)
Son: David Ellison (film producer, b. 1983)
Daughter: Megan Ellison (film producer, b. 1986)
Girlfriend: Adelyn Lee (later fired by an Oracle VP, she sued Ellison, settled for $100k)
Wife: Melanie Craft (romance novelist, m. 18-Dec-2003)

    High School: South Shore High School, Chicago, IL
    University: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (two years, dropped out)
    University: University of Chicago (one quarter, dropped out)

    Oracle Founder (1977)
    Oracle CEO (1977-2014)
    Oracle President (1978-96)
    nCUBE CEO (1996-2002)
    nCUBE Majority Shareholder (1988-)
    Amdahl (1973-)
    Member of the Board of Apple (-2002)
    Member of the Board of Oracle (1977-, as Chairman, 1990-92 and 1995-2004)
    Academy of Achievement (1997)
    Dreier for Congress Committee
    Every Republican is Crucial PAC
    Friends for Harry Reid
    John McCain 2008
    Monday Morning PAC
    Obama for Illinois
    Republican Majority Fund
    US Big Brother Award Greatest Corporate Invader
    Funeral: Steve Jobs (2011)

    Iron Man 2 (26-Apr-2010) · Himself
    The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires (12-Jun-1996) · Himself

Appears in articles:
Time, 23-Jun-2003, DETAILS: Eat... or Be Eaten -- Software mogul Larry Ellison makes a hostile bid for a rival firm -- and predicts that other tech giants will follow his lead (p.47, three pages), BYLINE: Chris Taylor

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