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10. Lawrence J. Ellison, CEO, Oracle - Top IT Influencers

Slideshow: The Ten Most Influential People in IT
10. Lawrence J. Ellison, CEO, Oracle - Top IT Influencers

Larry Ellison, who founded Oracle in 1977, is among a vanishing breed of charismatic first-generation technology executives that laid the foundation for Silicon Valley as we know it today. As eccentric as he is and as exaggerated he often comes across - which may be exemplified by the fact that he recently claimed to have invented cloud computing - we listen when Ellison speaks. As such, he belongs in an elite line of people such as Intel's Andy Grove, Cisco's John Chambers, and Microsoft's Bill Gates. Ellison and Oracle just wrapped up Oracle Open World 2012 and laid out his vision for the cloud and big data systems. Building on its database layer, the company is expanding into cloud services at a much more targeted approach than, for example, IBM, and can now take advantage of a hardware layer thanks to the acquisition of Sun Microsystems, which will enable the company to create a complete offering especially in Big Data. Ellison's over-the-top appearance often can lead rivals to underestimate Oracle, but for the first time in history, the company has the tools and infrastructure in place to do much more than sell just databases.

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