4. The Rift With HP
Perhaps the schism was inevitable following Oracle's purchase of Sun, a move that put it in direct competition with one-time ally HP.
Still, when the fallout happened, it came with an intensity few had foreseen. When HP CEO Mark Hurd was pushed out following charges of misreporting expenses, Ellison criticized HP's board for its actions. When Oracle hired Hurd as president, HP sued, arguing that Hurd could compromise HP trade secrets. Ellison responded with a blistering statement threatening to end Oracle's partnership with HP.
The suit was resolved Sept. 20, but the damage was done. The relationship sank lower in October when HP hired former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker to replace Hurd. Ellison criticized HP's board for the move saying members should "resign en masseright away. The madness must stop." Things hit bottom in November when Oracle unsuccessfully tried to subpoena Apotheker on his first day as HP CEO to testify in Oracle's copyright infringement lawsuit against SAP.