Current Page: Business | Thursday, June 21, 2012
Oracle CEO Buys Hawaiian Island

Oracle CEO Buys Hawaiian Island

While many fantasize about owning their own private island, one technology company billionaire has taken a step in that direction.

Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, has purchased 98 percent of the island of Lanai, the sixth largest island in Hawaii. Reports indicate that the purchase costs around $600 million.

"We look forward to welcoming Mr. Ellison in the near future," said Neil Abercrombie, Governor of Hawaii, in a statement.

"Mr. Ellison has had a longstanding interest in Lanai. His passion for nature, particularly the ocean, is well known, specifically in the realm of America's Cup sailing."

The purpose in buying the island has been debated by some, with CNN saying it was either part of "the game of bragging rights" or as a way to financially save an island whose businesses have been losing money for some years.

Once known for its pineapple industry, Lanai has developed a history of connections with billionaires. Ellison bought the island, containing resorts and golf clubs, from fellow billionaire David Murdock, whose Castle and Cooke Inc. boasts of employing about half of Lanai's population. Lanai was also the location for the 1994 wedding of Bill and Melinda Gates.

Some residents of the island have expressed concern over the purchase. Dorothy Lester, pastor at Lanai Union Church, told CNN about what some people have felt.

"There are people who have been waiting for the time when there would be a new owner of the island. There are those who are very anxious because David Murdock is the only person they remember who has been in control," said Lester.

Ellison's island purchase comes as his company continues to battle Google in court. Computerworld Australia reported that on Wednesday Oracle agreed to accept zero dollars in damages from Google over a suit made by Oracle over infringement claims.

While last month Google was cleared of most of these claims, the court concluded that Google did use Oracle's Java code for its Android product. Presently, Oracle is looking to appeal the zero damages decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

"The parties agreed we need to resolve the question of statutory damages now to resolve any outstanding issues in the final judgment," said Oracle lead attorney Michael Jacobs to the court.

In the meantime, Ellison can note that the 88,000-acre island he purchased is over 1,000 times larger than Virgin Group billionaire Sir Richard Branson's 74-acre Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.