About Larry Ellison’s comments on Steve Jobs

Larry Ellison’s comments about Apple without Steve Jobs are causing quite a stir this morning. I agree with some of the things that Ellison said, like “He was brilliant, he was our Edison, he was our Picasso.”

I don’t think that anyone, including Tim Cook or the executive team at Apple would argue with those comparisons. Steve was an incredible man that had the ability to read what consumers wanted even before they knew they wanted it—that’s genius.

You also can’t argue with the history. As Ellison said, we’ve seen Apple with Jobs, we’ve seen Apple without Jobs. That’s true, but there is one big difference between this time and when Jobs was kicked out of Apple.

Steve worked hard to leave Apple in good hands. He molded the company, the products, the executive team and the vision he had for Apple. This time when Steve left Apple, he knew he was leaving and he wanted the company to survive and prosper in his absence.

If there was one man on this earth that couldn’t be replaced, it surely must have been Steve Jobs. To me, Apple doesn’t seem to be trying to replace Steve as much as they are trying to carry on the vision that Steve worked so hard to build. That’s what Steve wanted and that’s what we expect from Apple.

  • Stephen Middlehurst

    Thanks Jim, perfect way to sum up something that so many blogs have missed.

    Apple quite clearly know where they want to go and have an incredible team in place to make that happen. More importantly, perhaps, they seem very aware of where they’ve come from and what got them into this industry-leading position. In the long run of course every single company we know today will collapse under competitive pressure but anyone expecting Apple to die in the next few years just isn’t paying attention.

    • sachin


  • sachin

    much Respect to Steve Jobs… Much Respect for Jim Dalrymple Much Respect to this Post… Much Love for Jobs & Dalrymple

  • Mark Thomson

    It’s been said many times before, even by yourself I think; Steve’s greatest product was Apple as a company

  • Herding_sheep

    Thank you. I think its almost insulting to Steve Jobs legacy and brilliance to think that he didn’t just leave behind great products, but also left behind an even more amazing company. People constantly praise Jobs ability to create products, but apparently don’t understand his true greatest strength was in building an organization and company culture. Apple is still the Apple that Steve Jobs built. Nothings going to change that. The only thing that will change that is the same thing that changed it 25 years ago, allowing investors/outsiders to mess with the company Steve built.

  • Thomas Alvarez

    Great writing, Jim.

    I think there’s also one other big difference between this time and when Jobs was kicked out of Apple.

    That was a time period spanning 1985-1996 (approx). For most of that there was no public Internet. Computers were very expensive and there wasn’t even one computer in every household, let alone one (or more) per person we have today.

    On the surface it seems like an apt comparison, but in reality times are completely different with the changes in society we have today.

  • DanielSw

    Steve Jobs was the inspiration for Apple’s stated goal (stated by Steve) of merging the “liberal arts” with technology, of “getting technology out of the way” so as to enable more people to benefit more greatly from it.

    Though the Macintosh computer was the initial breakthrough towards that goal, it was but one precarious ridge gained along the greater “ascent” up the “mountain.” It was exhausting for the nascent Mac team which then didn’t have the political clout to keep Steve from being ousted.

    But then, his ouster eventually proved to be fortuitous, as he returned to Apple with what would become Apple’s technological saving grace, NextStep/OS X.

    It’s this same synergistic (liberal arts + technology) DESIGN of Apple products which makes them especially desirable amongst much of the general public. The original slogan, “The Rest of Us”, was true enough for its time in the “dark days” of the late ’80s.

    But I think “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers [sisters]” to borrow a quote from Shakespeare’s “Henry V” have metamorphed into a much broader “band”, thanks in part to the “halo effect” of the more modern Apple products which are yet spawned from the same Apple “tree” with its vital OS X core.

    I think Apple is in good hands with Tim and his team.

  • BC2009

    When it comes to creativity and vision, I view Steve Jobs in much the same way I view Walt Disney. There are so many parallels between these guys. Walt has been dead for years and while the Disney corporation struggled at points, it is clear that Walt’s greatest creation was the company itself. Today it is thriving and much of its revitalization ironically came by the fusing of Steve Jobs’ Pixar into Disney as well as some important recent acquisitions of creative talent. Disney suddenly had great and compelling characters and a new fervor for creativity. But they are thriving without Walt since 1966 and without Steve since 1998 when he returned to Apple and left Pixar.

    If Steve did the job right, then Apple will be just fine for many years to come. IBM has been around for 100 years, why shouldn’t Apple be able to do the same?

  • Adriano Geletes

    If a man picks his own follower, if the same person who build one of the most amazing companies of our time choose Tim Cook as his successor, and if a lot of people (including me) believe that this man was a genius, then we should trust in that genius mind: He chose the right one for Apple!

  • Adriano Geletes

    Nothing to do with the subject, but what do you guys think about releasing iOS 7 months after the new iPhones? I can imagine, that some people (who actually want to upgrade their iPhone) wouldn’t buy a new iPhone anymore after installing iOS7 on their existing iPhone 4/4S. iOS7 is something new, it feels lighter and smoother, and so does the iPhone 4/4S with iOS7. What do you think? Or maybe split iOS7 release: It comes with the new iPhones and months later it will be released for iPhone 4/4S?

    • Space Gorilla

      Correct me if I’m wrong but hasn’t it already been reported that both iOS7 and the new iPhone(s) are being released September 10th?

      • Adriano Geletes

        I know, but I am just asking the question if Apple was going to release iOS7 months after shipping the new iPhone(s), would this boost the sales? What could Apple do to push iPhone 4/4S users to buy the new iPhone(s).

        • lucascott

          Not Apple’s style. Part of Steve’s vision was designing the hardware and the software together. The new iPhones have alleys been designed to work best with the new software and to be the best hardware for it.

          That kind of thinking is part of the legacy Steve left behind so its unlikely they will ever change that view. iOS 7 might come out for everyone else a couple of weeks after the new phones due to server concerns or such but the new models will have it when they launch

          • Adriano Geletes

            That’s what I love so much about Apple: It just works! Perfect integration of hardware and software.

            A delay of a few weeks for older devices should be a good timeframe to convince people to upgrade to get a new iPhone and the new OS at the same time. My guess is that they are going to kill the iPhone 4.

            It would be nice to know when Apple is going to annouce their own trade-in program.

    • No, this is not going to happen. Sure, it would boost sales, but that’s not the goal. iOS 7 is a big change and it must succeed, otherwise Apple is in serious trouble.

      The goal is to push as many user as possible to iOS 7 – as soon as possible.

      • Adriano Geletes

        If a delay of iOS7 would boost sales of the new iDevices, than it would actually be a good move because they earn more money by selling iPhones that releasing iOS7 to existing iPhone 4 users (but maybe these users are convinced by iOS7 to upgrade their iPhone!?hmm). Maybe they should release iOS7 just with the new devices and delay it for older devices like iPhone 4. But this would mean an Android way of segmentation of the OS. Hmmm … I don’t think that Apple would be in trouble, but I want them to boost sales, keeping old users and get more new ones. Maybe they should kill the iPhone 4 with the release of iOS7, keep the iPhone 4S as the “cheap” iPhone.

        Nevertheless iOS7 will be a huge success, it’s beautiful, light, smooth and fast, especially on an iPhone 5.

        • The transition to iOS 7 is a big move for Apple. I am sure they don’t even consider those kind of things.

          Again, it’s important for them that the majority of customers move to iOS as soon as possible.

          Remember, iPhone is an eco system. Not a single product.

        • Stephen Middlehurst

          Sorry but that’s incredibly short term thinking. One of the big advantages Apple has right now is their ecosystem and a key component of that is all supported devices get all upgrades simultaneously. Might not be feature-parity but the core OS stays the same. There’s a small chance it might bump 4/4s upgrades but it’d also really hack off the user base at the same time.

          More to the point Apple doesn’t need to resort to those sorts of tricks. They sell upgrades on the desirability of new designs and the new features they bring. The devices themselves (and by that I mean the combination of hardware and software) have exactly the same effect you’re suggesting holding back iOS 7 would have – they make the older model seem less desirable.

          As for increasing unit sales there’s a natural limit here. In the first few weeks (or even months) they’ll be supply-limited anyway. In the long term Apple are positioned at the high end of the market heading into the middle with the 4/4s (and, potentially, the 5c if that actually makes it outside of developing nations). There’s only so many decent sales to get before you have to make a handset with razor thin margins to capture the <£100 pay as you go crowd. Bit of an over-simplification this but Apple go after quality customers (i.e. ones that’ll spend money in the ecosystem & will pay more for perceived quality of products) rather than volume.

  • jcgarza

    “Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer

    • Mother Hydra


  • Mother Hydra

    let me get this straight: We go from sycophantic Larry that practically shlobs steves knob every chance he gets (while Jobs is alive) and now these comments? Talk about a jilted, wanna-be lover. Guy truly went full retard on this.

  • Bandar Elajou

    I totally agree, you said it for me and many others, the circumstances and the way it happened are different. Although there is a certain effect to Steve’s departure, the current team are doing great in my opinion. And when it comes to innovation, Jony Ive is doing great. Great articles by the way, your site is in my daily tech favourites, thanks.

  • Aye

  • don108

    Well said.

  • yummyyummyfly

    Long time iPhone user here. Bought 4 iPads as gifts for friends and family.

    I’m already up for an upgrade. If there’s no 5 inch iPhone this year, I’m switching to Android.

    It’s very simple: as Andy Ihnatko succinctly put it, why won’t Apple give a vote to the only user of my phone?

    I’m sure the 4 inch iPhone serves lots of people well. I want a larger phone.

    And this is what people like Larry Ellison mean when they say that Apple is going to go down.

    • Michael Johnson

      Just wondering if you have ever bothered to attend a stockholders meeting, or for that matter own any Apple stock. The company is public, you can voice your opinions and attend shareholder meetings if you wish. Of course, it is much easier to whine…

  • IslandLife

    Larry must not feel that Oracle can survive without him either …

  • Byrn

    Hard to take a guy serious when his face is all pulled back…

  • Vera Comment

    Then he shared Jobs’ last words of advice: “Never ask what he would do, just do what’s right.”


  • Moeskido

    Ellison trades in bombast and exaggeration. I interpret his shallow remark as evidence that he no longer has a friend on Apple’s executive staff who’ll indulge his egotism. Perhaps he felt spurned once he realized Tim Cook wouldn’t be calling him for advice.

  • Yep.

  • GadgetGav

    When Steve Jobs died, AAPL was at 369.80 (when he resigned it was 373). The lazy Wall St view that Tim Cook has presided over a massive loss of value conveniently forgets that he also was in charge during the run up too. The value of the stock has little to do with the health of the company I know, but that’s the shortcut Ellison was alluding to with his finger-up, finger-down gesture when saying the experiment has been done.