The Dark Side Of The Valley

In techdom's win-at-all-costs culture, hardball tactics and dirty tricks are just part of doing business

Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison was mentor and friend to Marc Benioff during his 13-year career at Oracle. So last summer, when Benioff left to launch a Web service for corporate salespeople called, it was only natural that Ellison would try to support the effort with a $2 million investment and that Benioff would reciprocate with a seat on the startup's board. What might not seem so natural was that Oracle soon began working on a competing service itself.

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