[Fsf-india] NEWS: It's Microsoft vs the world, says Ellison

Frederick Noronha fred@bytesforall.org
Fri, 21 Jun 2002 20:22:03 +0530 (IST)

[Interesting perspective from another 'big gun' of the IT field.-FN]

Times of India * June 13 * Mumbai


Times News Network

BEIJING: He may not quite cut the figure of a David, but as far as Oracle
Corporation founder and chairman Larry Ellison is concerned, there is only
one Goliath in the software industry -- Microsoft.

"The world is divided into two camps when it comes to software. There are
those like Oracle, IBM and Sun, who are working on open source software
and setting standards through products like Java and Linux. And in the
other camp is .NET -- the personal property of one man and one
company," explains Mr Ellison in his trademark contentioius manner.

Delivering the keynote address of the OracleWorld conference in the city,
Mr Ellison said the world had a simple choice to make: "Either choose
standards that belong to the world or the property of one man. What we are
offering is the heritage of the new economy -- an open system wherein
innovation can occur anywhere and anytime. The notion of an open standard
is that it belongs to everybody. How can one company (Microsoft) dictate a

Arguing that all open standards are based on common meetings and
innovations, Mr Ellison said "Microsoft's .NET can never be a standard. It
does not support Java or Linux or any other open standard. So why should
anyone use it? It's up to us and the markets to make sure that it never
becomes one."

The man who once competed with Bill Gates daily for the title of the
richest man in the world during the heydays of the dotcom boom maintains
that his dislike of Microsoft has little to do with Bill Gates on a
personal level.

"It's not a personal scoring match. I just want my team (for open
standards) to win the software war," he explained. "It's the World versus
Bill, and I am with the world."

But that sentiment did not stop Mr Elison from taking frequent digs at
Microsoft and Bill Gates throughout his address.

"Did you know that Bill invented the Chinese language called MS Mandarin
and will now license it to all of you to speak in,": he told a
2,000-strong predominantly Chinese audience. "By the way," he continued in
a similar vein, "Microsoft also claims that the Internet belongs to
it. Only it's now called MSInternet."

Another statement, another dig: "Bill divides the world into two things --
the stuff he owns and everything else. And Microsoft wants to own

When he wasn't deprecating the Microsoft chief, Mr Ellison provided some
pointers about the future of the information technology industry. "Silicon
Valley is changing rapidly. There is tremendous consolidation here just as
there has been in the US automobile industry, where there are only two
American firms (GM and Ford). Thousands of IT start-ups have become a
thing of the past," he said.

As evidence of the trend, Mr Ellison points to companies like i2, Ariba
and CommerceOne, "which till two years ago were all major players in
supply chain management and are now in the process of dying out."

There will be only two players in the enterprise application business left
standing, he predicts, "Oracle and SAP". (ENDS)