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Ellison lawyer nixed Apple acquisition

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Oracle and Apple -- together forever. That scenario was within a gnat's part of becoming reality, had Larry Ellison not heeded the advice of his lawyer. According to the Oracle CEO, quoted in the US media, he was ready and willing to buy the ailing Mac maker at $13 a share, "but my lawyer said I knew too much" -- his close friendship with Steve Jobs, then advisor to Apple CEO Gil Amelio, gave him insider knowledge. In turn, that would have raised serious questions at the Department of Justice, Ellison said his lawyer had warned. So "I decided it just wasn't that much to me to deal with [DoJ] lawyers. I walked away". Ellison's highly public scheme to buy Apple centred on the formation of an independent investor group to take control of the company through a massive share purchase. Ironically, through Jobs' own manoeuvrings to oust Amelio, become interim CEO and install a new board -- believed by many Apple watchers to be not dissimilar to Ellison's own band of investors -- on which Ellison himself now sits, the Oracle chief got his way without spending a penny. Apple's stock is now trading at around $37.7. At Ellison's behest, Apple was soon said to be developing a MacOS-based NC. That project ultimately become the recently released iMac, and the Oracle boss also said yesterday that the Apple has to get a cheaper version of its Internet-oriented computer to market. The company is also believed to be working on a faster version for business users. Elsewhere, Ellen Hancock, brought in by Amelio as chief technology officer but who later quit after the arrival of Jobs, has been named CEO of Exodus Communications, a provider of enterprise intranet management solutions. She has been company president since March. ®

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