Ellison has placed Oracle at the center of e-business. His database is preferred for running high-performance Web sites and corporate networks. And a new suite of applications is designed to help corporations run their entire business on the Net.
He has to play catch-up with young companies that are pioneering Net software.
You can't blame Larry Ellison for gloating. His Oracle Corp. (ORCL) rules the database software realm--powering most of the top Web sites. Add to that his new suite of software for e-business, and Oracle looks to be just about perfectly positioned for the Net revolution. ''We decided five years ago to bet the ranch on the Internet, and it looks like a good bet,'' he says.
Thanks to a series of canny moves by Oracle's 56-year-old chairman, the company's software is proving vital not only for the dot-coms that are challenging the status quo but also for the established industrial giants that are transforming themselves into e-businesses. He raised eyebrows a half-decade ago by predicting that the Web would rise up and turn the PC into a dinosaur. ''He was considered a little over the edge,'' says analyst Charles E. Phillips of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. ''But that's how you get people's attention. He makes crazy predictions, and sometimes, they actually come true.'' Things could still go off track, but for now, you can call Ellison the oracle of Oracle.