Oracle CEO Larry Ellison chose not to deliver a keynote to a full conference space of Oracle OpenWorld 2013 visitors today, apparently choosing to watch an Oracle-sponsored America's Cup boat race rather than share his thoughts on the company's ongoing cloud strategy.
The audience was informed that Ellison had chosen to attend the race, in which the Oracle-branded US catamaran was taking on New Zealand's vessel on San Francisco Bay, rather than appear at the city's Moscone conference centre.
Instead, executive vice president of product development Thomas Kurian was left to deliver Ellison's keynote as the room quickly began emptying in droves. Computing caught up with some of the leavers to discuss their reactions to the CEO's no-show.
"I feel like it was a total slap in the face for Larry not to be here," said an angry Oracle customer. "He's out playing with boats instead of focusing on his customers. I hope their stock price dips 40 points today. Hopefully he will too."
A delegate who described themselves as "a new Oracle employee" was understandably less critical, telling Computing:
"I really wanted to see Larry Ellison deliver the keynote on cloud. He's not here. He's really focused on the America's Cup and I think those guys are struggling to defend the championship, so it's okay, but I prefer to go to a different conference if he's not showing up."
Other delegates described the resulting keynote as "boring", "a lot of talking" and stated that their primary reason for attendance was to see Ellison speak.
Another employee displayed obvious pity for Kurian's position, saying: "I'm very proud of Oracle, and I think Thomas is doing an amazing job in a very hard slot, so kudos to him; he's a great guy. I realise it's a tough choice, but I wish [Larry] had chosen us over his hobby."
Over 60,000 people attended Oracle OpenWorld 2013, a majority of whom were present or the scheduled keynote on Tuesday afternoon.