"Et tu, Brute?" Oracle CEO and close friend of Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, joins the "Apple is doomed" generation this morning when he tells 'CBS This Morning' that he thinks Apple [AAPL] is lost without its founder.
[ABOVE: Larry Ellison on life without Steve Jobs.]
'We conducted the experiment'
Ellison was speaking to CBS at his Silicon Valley home when he made the statements -- using the power of hand gestures -- in response to questions concerning Steve Jobs.
You can take a look at the clip above, if you wish, or read the transcript below:
"Let's talk about Steve Jobs," the CBS anchor person states. "What is it about him? You -- we recognize the fact that he loved Apple and he wanted to make Apple great and he did. But what was it about him that enabled him to do it, other than he worked hard?"
Ellison: "He was -- he was brilliant. I mean, our Edison. He was our Picasso. He was an incredible inventor."
CBS: "So what happens to Apple without Steve?"
Ellison: "Well, we already know…We saw -- we conducted the experiment…it's been done."
Referring to the time when Jobs was evicted from the firm he founded, he states:
"We saw Apple with Steve Jobs," says Ellison while waving his finger high in the air. "We saw Apple without Steve Jobs," he adds as he lowers his finger once again. "We saw Apple with Steve Jobs," he states as he raises his finger again.
"Now, we're gonna see Apple without Steve Jobs," he concludes, keeping his finger static for a second before lowering it once again.
[ABOVE: Ashton Kutcher channels Steve Jobs: “The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous. Everything else is crap!" thanks to TechCrunch.]
Smoke, or fire?
A close friend of Jobs, Ellison has a reputation for being outspoken and is also likely to have a direct line to some members of the company board, including long-serving directors such as Arthur Levinson and Millard Drexler. It's also interesting Ellison's statement follows last week's claims of unrest among some members of the Apple board.
Characterized as reflecting concern that Apple's product release cycle isn't frequent or innovative enough, might this concern also reflect a move within the company to become more corporate and less maverick in its approach?
This we don't know: the company has always maintained a steely corporate exterior, is highly secretive, and is organized on a cellular basis in such a way that only a handful of leaders are ever fully aware of the big picture of what's going on inside the firm.
[ABOVE: Steve Jobs channels Steve Jobs.]
However, the departure, return and semi-departure of Bob Mansfield along with the sacking of Scott Forstall and continued failure to identify a new Apple retail chief suggest the silo-based nature of senior management may have created a difficult political environment among senior executives.
That's speculative, of course, but it is to be hoped the company's millionaire leaders are focused on their mission rather than engaged in a repeat of the political infighting that bought down the company last time it was without Jobs. The assassination of Mark Anthony is not mean to be a self-help guide.
One thing that is for sure, Ellison's eloquence adds yet more pressure to that felt by the firm as it heads inexorably toward its self-scheduled Fall product release cycle, led, presumably, by the iPhone introductions of September 10.
Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when these items are published here first on Computerworld.