Without Steve Jobs Apple is Doomed, Says Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

'He Was Our Picasso,' Says Tech Billionaire
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(Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson)Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs arrives with the team from the best picture nominate film "Up" at the 82nd Academy Awards in Hollywood in this March 7, 2010 file photo. Apple, Inc. co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, counted among the greatest American CEOs of his generation, died on October 5, 2011 at the age of 56, after a years-long and highly public battle with cancer and other health issues.

Steve Jobs' presence at Apple was more than simply a guiding force pushing employees to do their very best— it was a major reason for the company's success, according to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. The billionaire and friend of Jobs said in an interview that Apple's past failure without its eccentric CEO is the reason he believes the company is on a downward spiral.

Ellison's comment about Steve Jobs and the future of Apple came during an interview with Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning." Rose was inquiring about the reason behind Apple's success— it is the largest publicly traded company in the world with $415 billion in market capitalization— and Ellison admitted that it was largely due to Jobs' creativity.

Steve "was brilliant," said Ellison. "I mean, our Edison. He was our Picasso. He was an incredible inventor."

"So what happens to Apple without Steve?" Rose asked, to which Ellison responded, "we already know."

"We saw— we conducted the experiment. I mean, it's been done. We saw Apple with Steve Jobs," he said, raising his hand, "we saw Apple without Steve Jobs," he lowered his hand.

"We saw Apple with Steve Jobs. Now, we're gonna see Apple without Steve Jobs," the CEO added.

Ellison was referring to Steve Jobs' ouster from the company in 1985 after he struggled for power against the then-CEO John Sculley. Jobs left the company and founded NeXT the same year, and although Apple initially did well with its PowerBook line, increasing lack of direction led to the company nearing financial ruin by 1996.

After three other CEOs were let go, Apple brought back Jobs in 1997, and the company became profitable again after a substantial investment from Microsoft and a reworking of their product lines.

The last original product Jobs oversaw was the iPad, which debuted in 2010. Despite competition from the Samsung Galaxy, HTC One and Nokia Lumia lines, the iPhone remains supreme with 31.2 million sold in the third quarter of 2013.

"My eulogy (for Jobs) began, you know, I guess we're all told that no one's irreplaceable. I don't believe that, I just don't," Ellison said.