Just when it looked like the feud between Oracle and HP was over Oracle CEO Larry Ellison decided to go on the offensive again by attacking HP’s newly appointed CEO Leo Apotheker.  In an email to the Wall Street Journal Ellison said “HP had several good internal candidates…but instead they pick a guy who was recently fired because he did such a bad job of running SAP.” 

My own initial reaction to HP’s CEO choice was also to wonder whether Apotheker was the best available option given the way his long career at SAP ended.  The question in my mind is thus not whether Ellison’s opinion is right – he probably is.  What I don’t get is why Ellison chose to pick at the scab of this freshly healed wound.  Why not let others raise this point? 

Ellison’s propensity to lash out in public at real and imagined enemies seems to have increased recently.  Has this been the result of not having the calming influence of Charles Phillips around?  If so, how long will it be before new co-President Mark Hurd can convince Ellison to let him be the full-time public voice of Oracle? 

Oracle’s revenues, profits, stock price and image in the market are all on the rise this year making it an odd time for Ellison to be attacking anyone.  If there ever was a time when Oracle could afford to be composed and gracious this is it. 

The legendary late Senator Sam Erwin once said (in his wonderful southern drawl) “When you lose weep softly, and when you win brag gently” – great advice that Ellison should consider taking. 

Those looking for more details can check out CRN’s coverage of this story.

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