Larry Ellison: Apple won't be 'nearly so successful' without Steve Jobs

  @julpepitone August 13, 2013: 12:39 PM ET
larry ellison charlie rose
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Add Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to the growing list of Apple naysayers.

In an interview with Charlie Rose on Tuesday's edition of "CBS This Morning," the famously outspoken Ellison talked about his 25-year friendship with the late Steve Jobs -- and why he thinks that, without its founder, Apple's best days are behind it.

He predicted that Apple's history will repeat itself: After the company ousted Jobs in 1985, Apple struggled for more than a decade to reclaim its former glory. Jobs returned in 1997 and introduced a series of hits, such as the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad, which collectively made Apple the most valuable company on the stock market.

Though Ellison said he likes current CEO Tim Cook and thinks Apple has a strong talent pool, he called Jobs "irreplaceable."

"They will not be nearly so successful because he's gone," Ellison said. "He was brilliant. I mean, our Edison. He was our Picasso."

Apple has been battling critics' accusations that it is running low on innovative ideas in the wake of Jobs' death in October 2011. Meanwhile, the company has struggled to maintain its forward momentum. Last month, Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) reported its profit for last quarter sank 22% over the year, and sales were up less than 1%.

During the last years of Jobs' tenure as CEO, Apple regularly posted startup-like sales and earnings.

Ellison talked about taking walks with Jobs, but those walks became much shorter as Jobs grew weaker two years ago. Jobs, "tired of fighting," shocked his family and friends when he decided to stop taking his medication, Ellison said. Jobs died a few days later.

Ten charts: Why Wall Street loves Google and hates Apple

As fond as Ellison was of Jobs, he has nothing but distaste for Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) CEO Larry Page.

Ellison has been locked in a legal battle with Google over the Android platform, which Oracle (ORCL, Fortune 500) says infringes patents it acquired from its purchase of Sun Microsystems in 2010. A jury found that Google violated 37 copyrights of Oracle's Java software, but a judge ruled that those copyrights were invalid. Oracle has appealed the ruling.

The Oracle CEO accused Google of copying Java, calling Page's actions "evil." (Google's slogan: "Don't be evil.")

Ellison also explained his view on the National Security Agency's Prism surveillance program, which made headlines earlier this summer after whistleblower Edward Snowden released details to the media.

Ellison seemed to downplay the NSA's moves, saying financial companies have been collecting personal data for much longer. Oracle is a big player in "big data" collection and analysis.

"It's essential if want to minimize the kind of strikes that we just had in Boston," he said. The "red line" would be crossed for Ellison, he said, if the government used personal data for political targeting. To top of page



Join the Conversation

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.