Oracle CEO Larry Ellison called it the equivalent of Apple's decision to push aside Steve Jobs in 1985. To say that HP partners considered it a mistake when the company's board of directors gave then CEO Mark Hurd his walking papers in August 2010 is an understatement. Ellison, of course, hired Hurd as president (pictured). And HP's pain has come to be Oracle's gain. HP partners, for their part, say it was Hurd's leadership that transformed HP into a sales driven machine that delivered for investors, customers and partners.