Oracle, Mark Hurd and Jodie Fisher's revenge
The drama keeps swirling around Mark Hurd and his reality show-like experience.
Boy, if there was ever a poster child for keeping it in your pants Jodie Fisher has become the favorite pinup - given she got Hurd fired from HP and now appears to be on track for getting him fired at Oracle.
But the more interesting question is why this now? Let’s explore the likely causes. I’ll do them in order.
Jodie Fisher Wants Attention
Jodie Fisher is a reality show actress without a reality show and needs visibility in order to be considered for a slot. A natural would be around executives who screw off and she likely would be excellent in that role and it probably would pull ratings but only if she can get in front of a producer and pitch her idea.
Visibility helps with that and she simply wasn’t getting it. By the way, this doesn’t mean Mark Hurd didn’t do what she said though it would substantially reduce her credibility as a source. I think this is the most likely.
Safra Catz Wants Hurd Gone
I think this is the next most likely. I’ve been thinking a lot about who paid for the billboards in Times Square which kept Charles Phillips from leaving Oracle and getting the CEO Job at CA. Yes, most of us thought it was Larry Ellison, but this is awfully subtle for a guy who regularly writes the New York Times and does the "in your face" thing to HP.
Recall that at the core of this is the knowledge that Charles Philips mistress, who was initially blamed, couldn’t have afforded the $750K billboards alone and someone had to have funded her. But Catz is subtle and Charles Phillips operated as a highly paid aid to her much as she does for Larry Ellison.
It is likely she didn’t like the idea of Charles moving up around her to be CEO at CA and so both blocked him and managed him out of the company.
However, Mark Hurd was brought in as heir apparent and even though he is junior to her is expected to move over her when Larry steps down. She likely wants him out of the company and this could do that.
Larry Ellison Wants to Save Face
Of course, if Larry did pay for those billboards then he is actually doing the subtle thing and he may want Hurd gone as well now. This is because a lot has come out on Mark Hurd since he hired him.
Hurd and Catz are probably not working out well at all, and he wants to avoid the embarrassment of looking stupid so he has orchestrated a cause that he would not have known of to justify the change. But t his way, he can get rid of Hurd and not look stupid doing so.
HP Wants to Discredit Hurd More
Clearly, in a fight over which company has done the dumbest thing it is in HP’s best interest, at least on the surface, to have Hurd further tarnished. This would make HP’s board look smarter and Larry Ellison look dumber but it would also open the company to an SEC investigation and the firm would likely try to avoid that like the plague.
So, while they might be motivated to do this the downside exceeds the upside and that makes this the least likely choice.
Wrapping Up: Karma Squared
Whatever the result it is clear that the drama surrounding this isn’t over. Obviously, if you go to the very start of the drama sequence and the pretexting scandal at HP you have an argument for karma.
You see that scandal had at its core a team that reported to Mark Hurd. Ye,t Hurd manipulated things so that the woman who hired him at HP - Patty Dunn - got the blame and was fired while she was fighting cancer.
He basically stabbed the woman who had his back in the back when she was most vulnerable.
If there is such a thing as Karma that would be a massive Karmic debt and I’d suggest he become a Monk for the rest of his life to avoid women who likely are lined up to make him pay it.
What do you think - is this an example of real karma?
Rob Enderle is one of the last Inquiry Analysts. Inquiry Analysts are paid to stay up to date on current events and identify trends and either explain the trends or make suggestions, tactical and strategic, on how to best take advantage of them. Currently he provides his services to most of the major technology and media companies. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.