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Ellison slaps MS, praises Euro Net take-up

Another day, another PR opportunity for Mr Oracle

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Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison was in London on Friday, to preach the gospel of the Internet to Europe's IT directors. He also revealed that on Tuesday, Oracle will be announcing a deal with a major US hardware supplier - at present nameless. Watch this space. The future according to Ellison, in case you didn't know of his plans, is one with everyone online. Each company would have a few big servers dotted around the globe, holding all the data the business would need. These could be accessed by every employee from anywhere in the world. Two months ago, Ellison spoke of companies renting server space, and even of renting applications on a 'minute by minute basis'. He now concedes that this would be unworkable, since installation itself can take up to six months. Now there will be a three year lease arrangement, with some up-front costs to the customer. And despite our phone companies lacking proper competition until very recently, Ellison thinks that European Internet use could overtake the US inside three years. Adoption of cellular technology is much higher here than in the States, and as access devices get smaller, Europe will take the lead. Oracle has no plans to move into the hardware market itself. "Hardware is one of many things we are not good at," Ellison said. "We will stick to what we are good at." Which brings us neatly to the subject of Microsoft-bashing, something our Larry is certainly passionate about - you decide if he's any good at it or not. On the recent proposals to split Microsoft in two, Ellison had a few words to say. "Everyone agrees that Microsoft egregiously broke the law over and over; they paid people not to use the Netscape browser. Bill Gates make Rockerfella seem like a swell fellow," he said. The only relevant question in Ellison's opinion, is whether Microsoft knew it was breaking the law. "You can either believe they knew or that they didn't. You know, they're a bunch of young programmers in Seattle, 'what we can't use our monopoly to force them to bundle, I didn't know that was against the law, I'm not a lawyer...'," Ellison clearly thinks Microsoft knew what it was doing, but that it was a calculated risk. The US government's powers are limited. And Microsoft decided that any punishment inflicted would be outweighed by the benefits of pushing Netscape out of the market. "And it worked," he said. "Netscape is gone, disappeared. They get to keep the money, and the government doesn't dare do anything. Those guys are really smart." ®

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