Larry has a very bad month

As Randi's perfectly manicured fingernail ran down the column of type in one of last week's issues of The New York Times, she just shook her head. "Why did Larry do that, Bobby?"

Randi was referring to the recent so-called Larrygate scandal in which Oracle hired a private detective to ferret out nasty secrets about who (Microsoft) was funding some "public interest groups".

The whole incident backfired on Ellison when the press spent more time questioning the Oracle chairman about whether his company's tactics were ethical instead of looking into Microsoft's involvement in any covert activity. (The groups that the detective agency investigated strongly denied any wrongdoing.)"He's so arrogant," Randi said. "Why does he care so much about Microsoft? Why doesn't he just keep his focus on making Oracle into a great company?"

Larry's been having a bad month. Take, for example, the action of salesforce.com. Ellison had previously been invited to join the year-old startup's board of directors by the company's founder, Marc Benioff, a former Oracle employee. Then last month Ellison, who is also an investor, was asked to resign because of a conflict of interest. The conflict? Oracle is launching a direct competitor called OracleSalesOnline.com.

Oracle public relations workers recently felt the wrath of Larry, too. Ellison called while the group was putting in overtime on Sunday night to prepare for the launch of a big new initiative, Oracle iPortal.

I don't know what sort of language Ellison used, but he told his PR peons that the iPortal name wouldn't work because someone else already owned it.

The snafu meant pulling down all the iPortal information and changing the name at the very last minute.

Although my sources at Oracle wouldn't say who snagged the iPortal name first, Iona has a portal offering known as iPortal Suite and introduced its iPortal Application Server last week.

Perhaps in a preemptive move against all those who may be conspiring against Larry now, Oracle recently registered several new domain names. They include larryellisonsux.com, larryellisonblows.com, ihatelarryellison.com and larryellisonofabitch.com.

For those who are interested in starting their own anti-Larry Ellison sites, don't be too discouraged. ihatelarryellison.net and ihatelarryellison.org are still available. But you'd better hurry.

For those keeping track of vendors no longer supporting NetWare since the Win2000 launch, you can add Symantec to the list, my sources tell me. One reader downloaded Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition 7.0 for NetWare and then discovered the product can't be installed on a NetWare server; it has to be installed on Windows NT. Let me know if you hear of other vendors not supporting NetWare.

Randi, relying on her human resources background, believes that Larry Ellison probably just needs an intensive round of psychotherapy.

"Very egotistical people like that are often just very, very insecure," she told me. I remained silent.

Email your thoughts to Robert X. Crigely at cringe@infoworld.com

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