Factbox: BMW Oracle owner Larry Ellison

Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:22pm EST

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(Reuters) - The 33rd America's Cup was won by U.S. challengers BMW Oracle 2-0 over Swiss holders Alinghi in Valencia on Sunday after a host of legal disputes over the rules and the venue.

The team and its hi-tech trimaran are owned by Larry Ellison, the billionaire who founded computer giant Oracle more than 30 years ago.

Here are a few facts on Ellison:

BUSINESS CAREER

* The 65-year-old Silicon Valley icon made his name and a fortune as co-founder and visionary chief of database software giant Oracle. Ellison is number four in Forbes magazine's list of world billionaires.

* A short attention span worked against him during his academic career but Ellison's drive and impatience worked perfectly with the needs of computer programing which he discovered in his late teens.

* He became a computer programer at Ampex, participating in building the first IBM-compatible mainframe system and in 1977 Ellison and two of his colleagues founded their own company, Software Development Labs.

* Ellison and his partners won a two-year contract to build a database management system for the CIA. The project's code name was Oracle.

* They finished the project a year ahead of schedule and used the extra time to develop their system for commercial applications.

* In 1980 Ellison's company had only eight employees and turnover was less than $1 million but the following year IBM adopted Oracle for its mainframe systems and Oracle's sales doubled every year for the next seven. Ellison renamed the company Oracle Corporation after its best-selling product.

* After company losses he released a new version of the database program Oracle 7 in 1992, making Oracle the industry leader in database management software. In only two years the company's stock had regained much of its previous value.

* Ellison has promised to shake up the technology industry with his purchase of Sun Microsystems Inc in a deal that enabled the world's number three software maker to enter the hardware business.

* Ellison said the $7.5 billion Sun deal gave Oracle the broadest array of technology products of any company.

LIFE DETAILS

* Lawrence Joseph Ellison was born in New York City on August 17, 1944. In order to provide her son with a better upbringing, his mother gave him to Lillian Spellman Ellison and Louis Ellison, her aunt and uncle in Chicago.

* They formally adopted Ellison when he was nine months old. Ellison did not meet his birth mother again until he was 48.

* Ellison's BMW Oracle racing team have been a significant force in the America's Cup. His own yacht Rising Sun, more than 450-foot long, is one of the largest privately owned vessels in the world.

* In 1998 Ellison, on his 78-foot yacht Sayonara, won the Sydney to Hobart race, overcoming near-hurricane winds that sank five other boats.

Sources: Reuters/www.achievement.org/

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

(Editing by Paul Tait)

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