November 6, 1996 11:00 AM ET
Ellison: Resist Microsoft's stranglehold
By Juan Carlos Perez
SAN FRANCISCO--If Microsoft Corp. CEO Bill Gates were a plumber, he
would control all the water in the world and force anyone who wanted
some of the precious liquid to cut a deal with him.
With that statement, Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison closed a
question-and-answer session with reporters and analysts held here
Tuesday at Oracle OpenWorld. During his hour-long appearance, Ellison
agitated in favor of low-cost, generic network computers and against
"The notion of one company controlling the whole [computer] industry is
shocking and unacceptable," Ellison said, referring to what he describes
as Microsoft's stranglehold on PCs through its ubiquitous Windows
Ellison predicted that by the year 2000, 90 percent of American
households would be connected to the Internet, mostly via a network
computer. Presently, only about 30 percent of families in the United
States have PCs, a figure that Ellison blames on the high cost and
complexity of the machines.
Oracle's chief said he hopes network computers eventually cost less than
$100 and become simple enough for his mother to use.
At the same time, Ellison said Oracle would not be jettisoning all its
PCs for network computers. Instead, it will take a phased approach,
"because that would take up a lot of space in the [company's]
Microsoft was not Ellison's only target. He predicted problems for
competitor Informix Software Inc. for focusing too much on its database
instead of developing a suite of servers to go with it.
Earlier in the day, Oracle Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Henley
provided an overview of the Redwood Shores, Calif., company's financial
state. Henley said that in the last four quarters, through August,
Oracle's revenue has increased 42 percent to $4.5 billion, and that net
income also rose 42 percent to $662 million.
Software sales are responsible for 54 percent of total revenue, with the
rest generated by support, consulting and education services.
Servers remain the biggest selling software at Oracle, Henley noted.
They account for 72 percent of software sales, followed by tools (15
percent) and applications (13 percent).