With all eyes on Hurd, plenty of praise for new employer

September 16, 2010

USA/It may have been the most anticipated tech earnings conference call of the year.

It’s a good bet many many folks in Silicon Valley, and tech investors in general, were dialed in to Oracle’s presentation on Thursday, eager to hear the first public utterances of new president Mark Hurd, the recently exiled CEO of technology giant Hewlett-Packard.

And it may have been a bit painful for Hurd’s former colleagues at HP to hear him quickly lavish praise on his new employer:

“I don’t believe there is any other company in the industry better positioned than Oracle,” Hurd said in one of his first public statements as president of the world’s No. 3 software maker.

“Over the last 25 years, I’ve competed against and partnered with Oracle and I can tell you that Oracle has amassed the most enviable portfolio of technology in the industry,” he said.

(Incidentally, Hurd had not been quite so effusive about HP in his final months at the company. On an earnings conference call in May, Hurd merely said HP had “more work to do to transform ourselves to reach our potential”, was “uniquely positioned to win,” and “well-positioned to capitalize.”)

Hurd was ousted from HP in early August in a controversial fashion, accused of filing inaccurate expense reports related to a female contractor who worked for his office. He landed at Oracle a month later, lured by pal and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. But a clearly irked HP quickly sued to block him from joining the company, which both partners and competes with HP.

Given the pending litigation, it was little surprise that there was no mention of HP from Oracle officials on Thursday. Instead, it was all about IBM, although not in an aggressive, chest-pounding sort of way. IBM’s CEO on Wednesday had nice things to say about Oracle and Ellison, who returned the favor.

“IBM is a great company and I appreciate the kind words from  Sam Palmisano about us being their No. 1 competitor now. And I  mean that sincerely, I think Oracle is flattered,” Ellison said.

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