Photo: via Forbes
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says he knows what made Larry Ellison angry enough to kick him out of his keynote spot at the Oracle OpenWorld conference, and he’s sorry.Responding to a question from a reporter at the hastily arranged press conference at the Ame restaurant in the St. Regis hotel, Benioff said that Ellison was angry about a tweet.
Benioff had tweeted that Ellison set a low bar in his keynote on Sunday. (The tweet has been removed now.)
Benioff said he has apologized.
But he was also surprised that Ellison took it so personally, as Ellison is the one who taught Benioff to be so aggressive:
“Larry is about aggressive moves and that’s certainly how he taught me to behave in business. It’s what I do running my own company, and that’s why I was very surprised and disappointed that he canceled our appearance. Because in my world this is just tennis, we hit the ball back and forth across the net, and that’s all it is — it’s not personal, I’d never want it to interfere with our relationship.”
Benioff pointed to Oracle’s treatment of Autonomy over the last week — after Autonomy denied shopping itself to Oracle, Oracle posted the slide deck that Autonomy used during the meeting. Ellison had previously criticised HP for buying Autonomy for $10 billion, calling the company overpriced.
Arik Hesseldahl of AllThingsD first pointed out this recording of the exchange via Twitter.