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Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff: Top cloud leaders

 

5. Larry Ellison, CEO, Oracle and Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce.com

Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff

Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff are two sides of the same coin when it comes to derailing accurate conversations around cloud computing. One has dismissed it beyond reason; the other has inflated it to total meaninglessness.

Ellison isn't a big fan of commoditizing computing power and selling it cheap; Oracle spent $7.38 billion buying computer hardware maker Sun Microsystems and is in the business of bundling expensive database software on top of that hardware and selling it for even more money. Nevertheless, when Ellison says "cloud," people listen, if only to see what Oracle is missing out on. While his influence is primarily negative, it is undeniable.

The beneficent angel of cloud to Ellison's nasty devil, Benioff is the master obfuscator, convincing everyone that cloud computing is everything and nothing. Benioff makes it seem like the technology doesn't matter, cleverly ducking the part where someone has to create and operate that technology at some point. But, like Ellison, he speaks and people listen.

Free tip: If you ever attend a conference where either of these guys is speaking, bring earplugs. They have one tone and it's loud.

Their official bios are equally illuminating: Ellison's is barely two sentences, while Benioff's is quite expansive.

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This was first published in May 2010

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