Even as their competitive battles encompass opportunities measured in tens of billions of dollars, Oracle chairman Larry Ellison and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella are redefining the rules of competition and collaboration for not only the entire tech industry but also the broader business world as well.
It is wildly ironic — or is it? — that this extraordinary phase of the Generative AI (GenAI) Revolution is being written by two leaders who defy all the stereotypes that typically swirl around tech-industry disruption:
- Neither is a 20-something exploding out of obscurity onto the scene to turn the entrenched fuddy-duddies on their heads: In August of next year, Ellison will turn 80 and Nadella will turn 57.
- Neither felt compelled to leave a huge global corporation to disrupt the status quo: Ellison founded Oracle 46 years ago, and Nadella has spent 31 of his 33 years at Microsoft (following two years at Sun Microsystems…a company that Ellison and Oracle would later acquire).
- Only one is a college dropout (Ellison).
- Neither was a tech-centric founder who at some point could not handle the broader demands of business strategy and execution: Both were trained as technologists, and both rapidly complemented their genius in that area with world-class business acumen. While not a founder, Nadella was intimately involved in many of Microsoft’s most-successful and -valuable products.
Yet here, as GenAI turbocharges the greatest growth market (the cloud) the world has ever known, two “corporate lifers” with deep-tech expertise are profoundly changing how the business world will behave for the next few years not because of their computer-science wizardry but because of their bold, courageous, and customer-centric vision for the future.
Now, I realize that’s a pretty bold claim. But look at the early fruits of The Larry and Satya Show (and I’m giving Ellison top billing in that show name because of his 46-year tenure in this industry versus Nadella being in it…
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