Lawrence Joseph "Larry" Ellison (born August 17, 1944) isan American business magnate, co-founder and chiefexecutive of Oracle Corporation, one of the worldsleading enterprise software companies. As of 2012, he is thethird wealthiest American citizen, with an estimated worth of$41 billion.The bulk of Ellisons fortune comes from his 22.5percent stake in Oracle.
Larry Ellison was born in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City, NewYork. His mother, Florence Spellman, was an unwed 19-year-old of lewishheritage and his father was an Italian American U.S. Air Force pilot, who wasstationed abroad before Spellman realized that she had become pregnant by him. AfterLarry Ellison contracted pneumonia at the age of nine months, his mother determinedthat she was unable to care for him adequately, and arranged for him to be adopted byher aunt and uncle in Chicago. Lillian Spellman Ellison and Louis Ellison adoptedhim when he was nine months old. Lillian was the second wife of Louis Ellison, animmigrant who had arrived in the United States in 1905 from Russia. Larry Ellisondid not meet his biological mother again until he was 48. Ellison graduated from Eugene Field Elementary School on Chicagos north side inJanuary, 1958 and attended Sullivan High School at least through the fall of 1959before moving to South Shore.
Ellison grew up in a two-bedroom apartment in Chicagos South Shore middle-class lewish neighborhood. Ellison remembers his adoptive mother as warm andloving, in contrast to his austere, unsupportive, and often distant adoptive father, whoadopted the name Ellison to honor his point of entry into the USA, Ellis Island. Louis,his adoptive father, was a modest government employee who had made a smallfortune in Chicago real estate, only to lose it during the Great Depression. Although Ellison was raised in a Reform lewish home by his adoptive-parents, whoattended synagogue regularly, he remained a religious sceptic. Ellison states: "While Ithink I am religious in one sense, the particular dogmas of Judaism are not dogmas Isubscribe to. I dont believe that they are real. Theyre interesting stories. Theyreinteresting mythology, and I certainly respect people who believe these are literallytrue, but I dont...I see no evidence for this stuff." At age thirteen, Ellison refused tohave a bar mitzvah celebration.
Ellison was a bright but inattentive student. Heleft the University of Illiniois at Urbana-Champaign at the end of his second year, afternot taking his final exams because his adoptivemother had just died. After spending a summerin Northem California, where he lived with hisfriend Chuck Weiss, Ellison attendedthe University of Chicago for one term, where hefirst encountered computer design. In 1964, at 20years of age, he moved to Northern Californiapermanently.
In 1990, Oracle laid off 10% (about 400 people) of its work force because it waslosing money. This crisis, which almost resulted in Oracles bankruptcy, came aboutbecause of Oracles "up-front" marketing strategy, in which sales people urgedpotential customers to buy the largest possible amount of software all at once. Thesales people then booked the value of future license sales in the current quarter,thereby increasing their bonuses. This became a problem when the future salessubsequently failed to materialize. Oracle eventually had to restate its earnings twice,and also to settle out of court class action lawsuits arising from its having overstatedits earnings. Ellison would later say that Oracle had made "an incredible businessmistake." Although IBM dominated the mainframe relational database market withits DB2 and SQL/DS database products, it delayed entering the market for a relationaldatabase on UNIX and Windows operating systems. This left the door openfor Sybase, Oracle, and Informix (and eventually Microsoft) to dominate mid-rangesystems and microcomputers.
Around this time, Oracle fell behind Sybase. In 1990–1993, Sybase was the fastestgrowing database company and the database industrys darling vendor, but soon fellvictim to its merger mania.. Sybases 1993 merger with Powersoft resulted in a loss offocus on its core database technology. In 1993, Sybase sold the rights to its databasesoftware running under the Windows operating system to Microsoft Corporation,which now markets it under the name "SQL Server."In 1994, Informix overtook Sybase and became Oracles most important rival. Theintense war between Informix CEO Phil White and Ellison was front page SiliconValley news for three years. In April, 1997, Informix announced a major revenueshortfall and earnings restatements; Phil White eventually landed in jail, and Informixwas absorbed by IBM in 2001. Also in 1997, Ellison was made a director of AppleComputer after Steve Jobs came back to the company. Ellison resigned in 2002,saying that he did not have the time to attend necessary formal board meetings.
Once Informix and Sybase were defeated, Oracle enjoyed years of industrydominance until the rise of Microsoft SQL Server in the late 90s and IBMsacquisition of Informix Software in 2001 to complement their DB2 database. TodayOracles main competition for new database licenses on UNIX, Linux, and Windowsoperating systems is with IBMs DB2, and with Microsoft SQL Server (which onlyruns on Windows). IBMs DB2 still dominates the mainframe database market. Oraclealso faces significant competition from Open Source software suchas PostgreSQL and NoSQL data storage systems such as MongoDB.In April 2009, Oracle announced its intent to buy Sun Microsystem after a tug of warwith IBM and Hewlett-Packard The European Union approved the acquisition byOracle of Sun Microsystems on January 21, 2010 and agreed that "Oraclesacquisition of Sun has the potential to revitalize important assets and create new andinnovative products". The Sun acquisition also gave Oracle control of thepopular MySQL open-source database, which Sun had acquired in 2008.
On August 9, 2010, Ellison denounced Hewlett-Packardsboard for firing CEO Mark Hurd, writing: "The H.P. boardjust made the worst personnel decision since the idiots onthe Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago." Ellisonand Hurd are close personal friends – Hurd often plays tennisat Ellisons house. Then on September 6, Oracle hired MarkHurd and made him Co-President alongside Safra A. Catz.Ellison retained the CEO position.Ellison owns stakes in Salesforce.com, NetSuite, QuarkBiotechnology Inc. and Astex Pharmaceuticals. On June 20, 2012 it was reported that Ellison had agreed tobuy the 98 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lana’i currentlyowned by David Murdocks company, Castle& Cooke. Theprice was reported to be between $500 million and $600million.
In 2005, Oracle paid Ellison a $975,000 salary, a $6,500,000 bonus, and othercompensation of $955,100.[ In 2007, Ellison earned a total compensation of$61,180,524, which included a base salary of $1,000,000, a cash bonus of$8,369,000, and options granted of $50,087,100. In 2008, he earned a totalcompensation of $84,598,700, which included a base salary of $1,000,000, a cashbonus of $10,779,000, no stocks granted, and options granted of $71,372,700. In theyear ending May 31, 2009 he made $56.8 million.For a short period in 2000, Ellison was the richest man in the world.In 2006, Forbes ranked him as the richest Californian.On July 2, 2009, for the fourth year in a row, Oracles Board awarded Ellison another7 million stock options.On August 22, 2009, it was reported that Ellison would be paid only $1 for his basesalary for the fiscal year of 2010, down from the $1,000,000 he was paid in fiscal2009.
As of March 10, 2010, Ellison was listed on the Forbeslist of billionaires as the sixth richest person in the world.Ellison is the third richest American, with an estimated networth of US $28 billion. On July 27, 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported thatEllison was the best-paid executive in the last decade,collecting a total compensation of US $1.84 billion.In September 2011, Ellison was listed on the Forbes List ofBillionaires as the fifth richest man in the world. Ellison isstill the third richest American, with a net worth of about$36.5 billion. As of September 2012, Ellison was listed on the ForbesList of Billionaires as the third richest American citizen,behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, with a net worth of$44 billion.