Oracle CEO and co-founder Larry Ellison and Apple CEO Tim Cook probably won't be doing a summer barbecue together any time soon, not after Cook hears what Ellison told "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose in a sit-down interview that aired Aug. 13.
In the interview, located at one of Ellison's several Bay Area homes, the Oracle chief made it abundantly clear that he believes Apple—though currently one of the richest, most successful companies in the world—is on the way back down without co-founder Steve Jobs. A clearer slap at current Apple management could hardly be made.
Jobs died at age 56 on Oct. 5, 2011, as a result of pancreatic cancer. He had brought the company back from the brink of being sold to Sun Microsystems for $6 per share in 1996 to world IT leadership in several categories.
In the interview telecast Aug. 13 on the CBS morning talk show, Ellison—a longtime friend of Jobs and whose companies came to the fore at the same time in 1977—never used the words "doomed" or "in trouble" to Rose, but his implication was clear.
"Let's talk about Steve Jobs," Rose said in the interview, taped by eWEEK. "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?"
"He was—he was brilliant. I mean, our Edison. He was our Picasso. He was an incredible inventor," said Ellison, a former member of the Apple board of directors who resigned from that position in September 2002.
"So what happens to Apple without Steve?" Rose asked.
"Well, we already know," Ellison said.
"What?" Rose asked.
"We saw—we conducted the experiment," Ellison said, apparently referring to the 11-year period from 1985 to 1996 when Jobs was fired from the company by CEO John Scully and the Apple board. "I mean, it's been done."
"We saw Apple with Steve Jobs," says Ellison as he arcs his finger high into the air. "We saw Apple without Steve Jobs," he said, lowering the finger.
"We saw Apple with Steve Jobs," Ellison said, raising his finger again. "Now, we're gonna see Apple without Steve Jobs," he said, keeping the finger in the air for a few seconds before dropping it again.
Apple did not have an immediate reaction to the interview.