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Sep 5 2010   4:43PM GMT

Mark Hurd heads to Oracle?

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

Here’s one you had to see coming.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd is talking to Oracle about his next job, according to the Wall Street Journal citing “people familiar with the matter.”

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison weighed in very publicly about what he saw as HP’s short-sighted ouster of Hurd. Ellison put his unsolicited thoughts in a letter to the New York Times.

Ellison has made bold hiring moves in the past, bringing in co-presidents Safra Catz and Charles Phillips in from Wall Street firms. Oracle also hired Joe Lockhart, a former press secretary for Bill Clinton, as a corporate communications specialist reporting directly to Ellison

In some ways Hurd makes sense for Oracle. The company , a perennial software power,  is now also a hardware company albeit one that is struggling to make the adjustment with its new Sun server franchise.

Hurd was widely credited for stabilizing HP after Carly Fiorina’s tumultuous tenure. He executed several high-profile acquisitions–Electronic Data Systems, Palm Computing– that went off like clockwork and with little drama. He was also slammed, mostly after his departure, for eroding the vaunted “HP way,” making wholesale layoffs while making sure he himself profited handsomely.  Even some Hurd critics said that HP’s recent and expensive buyout of 3Par would never have happened on Hurd’s watch and shouldn’t have happened now.

The Journal had no speculation on what Hurd’s title might be or even if the job is really in the offing. But wouldn’t it be interesting if Mark Hurd, former boss of one of Sun’s biggest rivals, took the stage next week at Oracle OpenWorld as the guy in charge of Oracle’s Sun Sparc chip and server franchise?

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