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Larry Ellison Rewrites History, Claims Invention of the Cloud

In a conversation with financial analysts, Larry Ellison reportedly claimed that he unintentionally invented the idea of "cloud" computing. We certainly know that the most genius inventions often come unexpectedly. It was similar case with Ellison's cloud: The self-pronounced cloud visionary said that he founded the first cloud computing company in 1998: It was called NetSuite and was, according to Ellison's recollection, the first cloud computing company. All that NetSuite lacked was the cloud moniker in its sales pitch.

That is, for example in stark contrast to companies such as Rackspace, which calls itself the "Open Cloud Company".

Ellison's modesty is only trumped by Al Gore claiming stakes in "creating" the Internet. While the former U.S. vice president never claimed that he invented the Internet, he made a clumsy and bold statement that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet" during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer in 1999.

Admittedly, Ellison was one of the pioneers of commercial cloud computing and pitched, for example the idea of its $200 NC (network PC), a thin client computer, back in 1996 at Comdex Spring in Atlanta. Essentially, the NC was designed to work in a cloud computing environment. But it that early enough to claim the "invention" of cloud computing? Nope.

Famed computer scientist Jon McCarthy said in 1961 that computers may one day operate in a network similar to a public utility. Of course, he did not know the buzzword we would come up with to describe this technology (HP and IBM, by the way, used the term "enterprise utility computing" in an effort to sell what we call cloud computing today in 2006 to 2008).

Ellison's claim of founding the first cloud computing company in 1998 is also false. NetCentric attempted to trademark "cloud computing" in 1997. It has taken some time for the idea to propagate and we remember Google's Eric Schmidt to be the first who described "cloud computing" as we understand it in a mass market model today.

The executive was quoted saying at the 2006 Search Engine Strategies:

"What's interesting [now] is that there is an emergent new model, and you all are here because you are part of that new model. I don't think people have really understood how big this opportunity really is. It starts with the premise that the data services and architecture should be on servers. We call it cloud computing – they should be in a "cloud" somewhere. And that if you have the right kind of browser or the right kind of access, it doesn't matter whether you have a PC or a Mac or a mobile phone or a BlackBerry or what have you – or new devices still to be developed – you can get access to the cloud. There are a number of companies that have benefited from that. Obviously, Google, Yahoo!, eBay, Amazon come to mind. The computation and the data and so forth are in the servers."

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  • husker
    No one can claim to invent cloud computing, because it is simply another version of the old mainframe and terminal model. The only difference is that now instead of a closed network, the "terminal" connects to the internet. Essentially not a new concept just a natural evolution of one that has been there for a long time.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    Maybe he's correct... That would explain why almost all cloud based solutions are a shit storm all day long.

    Cheers! :P
    Reply
  • ccovemaker
    Don't be silly Steve Jobs invented it in a dream in 1983.
    Reply
  • freggo
    huskerNo one can claim to invent cloud computing, because it is simply another version of the old mainframe and terminal model. The only difference is that now instead of a closed network, the "terminal" connects to the internet. Essentially not a new concept just a natural evolution of one that has been there for a long time.

    You just beat me to it.
    Back in the 70s I was taking 'IT' classes at Hamburg University on an IBM mainframe; a 1 MIPS power house :-) We students are on the dumb terminals and the big 'machine' behind glass with A/C and guys in white coats attending to it; just like in the old movies. So we ran our little programs remotely on that machine, getting charged CPU time.
    Pretty much what cloud providers do now. So many CPUs, time, GB storage and TB data transfer per month etc.
    Reply
  • dalethepcman
    What freggo and Husker before said. Congratulations Larry, taking a page from Steve now that he's gone?
    Reply
  • southernshark
    Actually I invented it in the Fall of 1972. I was only six months old, which makes it all the more impressive.
    Reply
  • hmp_goose
    Finaly someone else has noticed how we've come back to the "thin-client" bullshit Larry was talking up lo these many years ago.

    It was a bad idea when there was no bandwidth to be had, back then, and it's a bad idea now, as bandwidth costs an arm and a leg in the States.
    Reply
  • dark_knight33
    huskerNo one can claim to invent cloud computing, because it is simply another version of the old mainframe and terminal model. The only difference is that now instead of a closed network, the "terminal" connects to the internet. Essentially not a new concept just a natural evolution of one that has been there for a long time.
    This.

    Worked on a Vax 11/785 for years. Cloud is just a simple enough word that sounds more catchy than mainframe. These dolts are trying to peddle it as if its a brand new concept.
    Reply
  • Vorador2
    huskerNo one can claim to invent cloud computing, because it is simply another version of the old mainframe and terminal model. The only difference is that now instead of a closed network, the "terminal" connects to the internet. Essentially not a new concept just a natural evolution of one that has been there for a long time.
    This. The "Cloud" is basically an rebranding of services that existed before. The only difference is that is focused to the general public. Well, that and a overexcited marketing team.
    Reply
  • Kreth
    Isnt cloud computing, just an Ftp server ?
    If my memory is correct ftp has been around a while
    Reply