On Larry, and Marc, and All Publicity being Good Publicity

So I’ve been mentioning it on Twitter all afternoon, after being one of the first to pick up on the announcement from Marc Benioff that Oracle had reneged on its offer for a keynote position at Oracle’s OpenWorld event in San Francisco this week.

Ever the showman, Benioff turned it around and is staging a guerilla event which, I suspect based on the storm that’s been raging, will garner far more attention than the St Regis will be able to cope with – no doubt Benioff’s people have arranged for a webcast of the event to satiate the demands for more on this developing story.

But this needs to be looked at in context – yes, unless this is a highly calculated strategy of Machiavellian proportions on the part of Ellison, this is indeed a monumental error of judgment – A few of us watching Ellison’s keynote on Sunday were shocked at his staggeringly bad preparation and presentation – Ellison has always been abrasive and he had a measure of that on Sunday – but for the most part he looked ill-prepared and ill at ease.

But I very much doubt that even with an ego the size of Ellisons (monumental by all accounts) he would be so stupid as to make such a knee jerk reaction that does nothing but play into Benioff’s camp – yes Benioff has been baiting him for years, yes salesforce is gaining a worrying degree of momentum, but the day before the actual event? Come on.

So what’s up? Is it indeed a massive conspiracy between the two master showmen that is a well thought out strategy? It’d be massive news but then again stranger things have happened. Remember that these are two master showmen who understand the nuances of publicity at the deepest levels.

Regardless of the true story (that none of us will ever get to the bottom of) tomorrow looks set to be, at the very least, highly entertaining.

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