Ellison: Apple close to new CEO and NCs

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who was curiously absent at the anti-Microsoft conference held this week by Ralph Nader, announced Thursday that Apple Computer's search for a CEO is almost over. Ellison is a member of Apple's board of directors and his comments were made at a Silicon Valley assembly.

"We're getting close," said Ellison, "We have someone we like very much. No, I can't tell you who it is."

When asked whether that person was Steve Jobs, Ellison said he didn't think so.

"I'm almost positive that he is not," he said.

Ellison also revealed his vision for Apple as a supplier of Network Computers (NCs) based on the Mac OS. Ellison said that the Mac OS, not Rhapsody, was key to Apple's future.

"They have a better shot at \[being successful with Network Computers\] than anybody else," Ellison said.

In other Apple news, a company spokesperson squashed rumors that Oracle was planning to buy or merge with Apple Computer.

"We made the announcements we intended to make," said the spokesperson. "We're not going to comment on the rumors floating out there. It's getting old."

Regardless, there are numerous reports that Apple and Oracle employees were flown in to Cupertino from around the world or told to watch the announcement on video as it happened. After the press conference ended, an hour earlier than originally scheduled, many Apple and Oracle employees were confused about the secrecy of the event, saying, "Was that it?" Most had expected something more incredible than Apple's new Macs and online store

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