Saturday, October 2, 2010

HP vs Oracle Round 3

Round 1: August 6th 2010 - HP Fires Mark Hurd for fiscal improprieties. Larry Ellison calls this "the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago."

Round 2: September 6th 2010 - Oracle hires ousted HP Chief Mark Hurd. HP responds with a law suit that "in the course of his duties with Oracle, Hurd will inevitably disclose HP's trade secrets and confidential information."

Round 3. October 1st 2010 - The Silicon Valley Soap Opera took another bizarre turn with the appointment of Leo Apotheker as the new HP CEO. Larry Ellison says publicly that he is "speechless" that HP "picked a guy who was recently fired because he did such a bad job running SAP."

Will somebody please stand up and tell Larry Ellison that *he* hired a guy who was recently fired from HP because he did not stand up to HP's ethical standards (which are also the standards normally practiced by the rest of us). Who is "speechless" now?

HP really hit it where it hurds the most (sorry, could not resist that!) with the appointment of Ray Lane as the non-executive chairman. Ray Lane has a storied history with Larry Ellison. It will be interesting to see who makes the next move.

I was disappointed with Chris O'Brien's piece in the Mercury News earlier today. He starts off very well building the case for why the other stories (Apple vs Adobe and Google vs Apple) pale in comparison to this one. It was his conclusion on "How can this get better?" that was disappointing. Chris O'Brien opted to take the trite path to possible conclusions.

I think the battlefield is now the marketplace. HP and Oracle are going after the same customers in the Enterprise Data Center. Oracle had the upper hand with Enterprise Software. HP closed that gap with the hiring of Leo Apotheker. With HP's recent acquisitions of 3Par, ArcSight and Fortify they are filling critical holes. I believe that they have the right person at the helm to lead them. I applaud HPs Board in having the courage to hire a rank outsider to help them effectively combat Oracle - an advantage that an insider would not have given them.

We are nearing the end of the first quarter and, by my score, HP is leading by a field goal - with each team having scored a touchdown. We have three more quarters left in the game. The Bay Area is already abuzz with all the activity that has happened so far. Hold on to your seat belts folks. The game has just begun!

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