I’ve been reading Softwar: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle recently.

The book is interesting because it’s written by Matthew Symonds, an author from The Economist, but Ellison gets to add footnotes explaining his side at the bottom of the page.

It’s a quick read, quite funny. Since the book was published in 2003, you can track Ellison’s visions, as stated in the book, with what we’ve seen. For one, he pretty much telegraphed Oracle’s acquisition strategy in the book.

I disagree with his views on IBM’s marketing (i.e. “how do they get away with the lies”) and some of his statements on Microsoft. But hey, as I said, the book is a howl.

My favourite story from the book: Larry describes why he didn’t buy Netscape:

Netscape’s Navigator browser ushered in the Internet age. They single-handedly changed the Valley. EBay, Yahoo!, and all the other Internet companies exist because of Netscape. But Netscape had a big problem. It’s just not very hard to write a browser. Andreessen wrote Mosaic in his spare time when he was in college. So there was no technical barrier preventing Microsoft from writing a competing browser. To emphasize that point, I said my cat, the one that recently died, could write a browser. For some reason that made Jim Barksdale [Netscape’s CEO] and Marc very angry at me. I don’t know why. She was a very smart cat. The two cats I have left, incidentally, can’t program worth a damn.