Lawrence Joseph Ellison is an American billionaire and technology entrepreneur who is most notable for founding Oracle Corporation. He is currently listed by Forbes as the fifth wealthiest person in the world by net worth . He is also notable for being a figurehead in the tech community, philanthropist for technology, and an investor in many companies. Ellison is also an avid sailboat racer, and pilot. As of 3/26/20, Ellison had a net worth of 57.1 billion dollars, primarily attributed to his stake-holdings in Oracle Corporation.
- 1 Early Life and Inspirations
- 2 Founding of Oracle Corporation and Early Days
- 3 Oracle from 2000 to the Present
- 4 Personal Controversies and Issues
- 5 Technology Controversies
- 6 References
Early Life and Inspirations
At just the age of just nine, Ellison was given to his aunt and uncle by his biological mother. He would not meet his biological mother again until the age of 48. Ellison grew up in a primarily Jewish household, but it is noted that he often scolded religion and religious beliefs due to lack of evidence and proof of higher powers. Ellison has also stated that his love for the Israeli community was not based on religious principles, but rather the Israeli's love for technology and innovation.
Ellison initially attended the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, but soon dropped out after only four semesters due to lack of interest in schooling and dismal grades. He then briefly enrolled at the University of Chicago to study math and physics, but was promptly expelled due to extremely poor performance in his classes. He soon moved to Berkeley, California, which was one of the fastest growing technological centers of silicon valley.
Founding of Oracle Corporation and Early Days
Ellison quickly found interest in designing relational software for databases. He briefly worked at Ampex Corporation, where he designed a relational database for the CIA, which he originally named "Oracle." He quickly broke off from Ampex and cofounded his own company called Software Development Laboratories. Ellison would soon rename Software Development Laboratories to Relational Software Inc, and finally to Oracle Corporation. In the early 1990s, Oracle was going downhill fast and the company was losing significantly more money than it was making in profit. Ellison decided to lay off nearly 10% of Oracle's entire workforce to keep the company afloat, due to the losses and lack of profits. During this time, with Ellison at the helm as chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors, Oracle nearly went bankrupt.
Oracle from 2000 to the Present
Oracle in the Early 2000s
During the early 2000's, Oracle finally began to see large sales and profits due to the contracts from the government. During this time, Ellison built himself up to be the lavish and extravagant CEO he is today. Ellison was known personally as an aggressive negotiator and brash businessman. During the early to mid 2000's, Oracle acquired several large corporations including Sun Microsystems, and Peoplesoft Corporation. Oracle and Ellison battled IBM and HP in order to acquire Sun Microsystems due to their control of the MySQL relational database, which would become one of Oracle's prime selling points. Oracle and Ellison were also noted for the hostile takeover of Peoplesoft Corporation by Oracle. After the acquisition, Ellison decided to lay off over half of peoplesoft's employees, resulting in 6,000 of the 11,000 employees losing their jobs. Oracle and Ellison are often criticized for this hostile takeover .
Oracle in the Current Day
In 2010, Ellison spoke out about the firing of then HP CEO Mark Hurd, saying "the HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago." This did not come without controversy though, as Hurd was fired for violating HP's sexual assault and harassment policies. Ellison has often been known for some of his outlandish remarks which have often stirred controversy. As of March 2020, Ellison was listed as the fifth wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of 57.1 billion dollars. Ellison owns stakes in Salesforce.com, NetSuite, Quark Biotechnology Inc. and Astex Pharmaceuticals. As of 2013, Oracle's principle competition in databasing were IBM's DB2, and Microsoft's SQL server. Ellison would later have his own personal stint and controversy with Microsoft.
Personal Controversies and Issues
In June of 2012, Ellison made headlines by announcing his purchasing of 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lana'i. It is reported he payed between 500 and 600 million dollars for the purchase. This purchase was heavily criticized, with many people citing that privatizing an island known for its Polynesian and native Hawaiian history was simple unethical. Ellison has often been known and regarded for his extremely luxurious and lavish lifestyle. In 2011, Ellison settled a lawsuit he filed against his neighbors because their redwood trees in their backyard, were obstructing some of the view of the San Francisco Bay Area from his home . Ellison has also been noted to consistently outspend his billion dollar credit budget .
Ellison's Controversy Versus Microsoft
In 2000, Ellison and Oracle Corporation hired IGI , a firm most notable for being headed by a former Watergate investigator, to look into two advocacy groups that publicly supported Microsoft during the tech behemoth's fight against the United States Government's anti-monopoly lawsuit against Microsoft Corporation. Ellison very publicly came out to defend the decision. Ellison claimed that Oracle was right in trying to expose alleged Microsoft ties to research and advocacy groups, even if it meant buying incriminating garbage. The investigators hired by Ellison attempted to form connections against Microsoft by sifting through said purchased incriminating garbage. Ellison maintains that Oracle was not spying, but rather trying to expose Microsoft for wrongdoings .
Government JEDI Contract
In early 2018, the pentagon and the Department of Defense announced their intention to modernize their military IT infrastructure by shifting to the cloud. Given that there are 4 main database providers for the cloud, Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle and Google, the options for which service to use for the JEDI contract were limited. The four tech giants battled for months, even getting involved in lawsuits, but eventually, Microsoft would soon best Ellison and Oracle when the government decided to award Microsoft Azure it's huge 10 billion dollar JEDI  contract over Amazon Web Services and Oracle. Oracle and Ellison claimed that the contract should be dispersed and shared amongst large tech firms for security purposes, rather than the entire contract being awarded to a single cloud provider. Oracle attempted to sue the department of defense, but lost in a quickly dismissed case. They have since filed an appeal and it is currently still being processed .
Fundraising for Trump
Ellison has been an outspoken supporter of current President Donald Trump. Despite several other silicon valley tech billionaires denouncing the commander in chief, Ellison has been one of the few supporters, along with others such as Peter Thiel. Ellison held a fundraising event to support Trump at his Coachella Valley property in California, which led to over 7500 Oracle employees congregating together to form a petition to upper management to denounce Ellison's support of Donald Trump, citing it as going against company values  It has also been noted that this fundraiser was used by Ellison to further continue Oracle's lobbying efforts in order to win a piece of the Department of Defense JEDI contract. Tickets were being sold for exorbitant amounts of money with people paying 100,000 dollars to play golf, and 250,000 dollars to get a photo with the president. Many Oracle employees felt using the money gained from such fundraisers in order to harm other companies dealings for self benefit were not representative of the Oracle company culture.