ELLISON: Hey Mark, what the pheck is going on with Apotheker at HP?
HURD: Which flame-out catches your attention today?
ELLISON: Well let's see. Within a month of announcing the HP tablet, he cuts prices twice. Then he decides to exit the PC business and abandon iOS. And that Autonomy acquisition! Those idiots were on the block for years! HP stock is tanking. The sumbich is doing a better job of destroying HP by incompetence that I've been able to do on purpose!
[Both laugh heartily.]
HURD: You have a point, Larry. He got canned by SAP. Maybe he landed on his head when they threw him out.
ELLISON: HP is a laughing stock. Kind of a shame for such an iconic company.
HURD: You could buy 'em.
ELLISON: We have less than $30 billion in the war chest. Their stock is going to have to drop a lot further. And even then…
HURD: I'll bet I could put together deals to sell off the PC and printer divisions as part of the buyout package. I know exactly who we could call to make this happen. We keep the enterprise division and you get some great storage patents, along with a much-relieved customer base.
ELLISON: Nice. I know just the guy who could step back into the saddle and whack some HP costs.
HURD: Yes you do.
ELLISON: It'd still be a hostile takeover.
HURD: Maybe not. Your old buddy Ray Lane is chairman of HP's board and may need to do some face saving. If not to make up for hiring Leo, then at least to mitigate his risks from a shareholder class action lawsuit.
HURD: Want me to make a couple of calls?
ELLISON: Be careful. That guy Josh Kosman at the New York Post has some pretty good sources. He could do the story and blow the lid of things.
HURD: Is that a problem? It keeps Apotheker's incompetence in the news. The HP board may come to us and ask for a lifeline.
ELLISON: Make the calls, Mark.As the credits rolled in some western movie in my past, one line perfectly encapsulates the above hypothetical dialogue: "This isn't the way it was. But's the way it should have been."