Larry Ellison threw a fantastic tantrum against the mindless cult of "Cloud Computing," a fascination of "nitwit" Silicon Valley investors, as Ellison calls them. But the Oracle CEO was himself once a "nitwit." Just look:

Attached is a video in which we've spliced Ellison's rant, delivered last week at the Churchill Club and recorded by TechPulse 360, with excerpts from an interview Ellison gave to Charlie Rose in 1996. At the time, Ellison was campaigning for the world to adopt "Network Computers," jargon for Web applications operated from stripped down computer terminals. "Cloud Computing," meanwhile, is the contemporary jargon term for Web applications.

As he told Rose, Ellison was convinced PCs were way too complex for ordinary people, and would eventually be replaced by his "NCs." Of course, things didn't turn out that way; in the ensuing 13 years PCs have spread not only to many more homes but also to many more datacenters, where clusters of cheap boxes with the same hardware guts as home Windows machines have displaced large servers from the likes of Oracle's Sun division. As Ellison alludes to in his more current rant, Google runs on such machines.


Maybe it is precisely because Ellison himself once employed "NC" jargon and hype to predict the imminent decline of certain competitors, Microsoft chief among them, that he can so eloquently rant against people who are trying to do the same thing with "cloud computing" today. Of course, Ellison's newfound distaste for hype also might have something to do with the fact that his company, Oracle, is now the supposedly declining competitor, and ex Oracle executive Marc Benioff's is the company pumping out the hypey internet jargon.