"That's when IBM was really the dominant software company," Ellison said.
Oracle, he said, does not wish to compete with the likes of Dell. "We have a deep interest in the systems business," delivering hardware and software combinations that can be the backbone of most enterprises in America and the world, Ellison said.
"We're very interested in running airline reservation systems and we're very interested in running banking systems and telecommunications systems and that require both hardware and software," said Ellison. IBM is the company Oracle wants to compete with, he said.
He pledged to keep the multitude of Sun technologies that Oracle would acquire, including x86 technology, Sparc processors, tape, and storage. Ellison also lauded Java and the Solaris Unix OS. "The Java [platform] already is the lingua franca of network computers," Ellison said.
"Sun has been a national treasure for the last couple of decades," he said.
"Solaris is way better than [IBM's] AIX," Ellison said. He added that Sun machines "will outrun the IBM machines running the Oracle database." Oracle also remains "a big supporter of Linux," but Solaris is the more mature OS, said Ellison.
Ellison covered several other topics in the interview, including cloud computing, Microsoft, and the economy.
Asked about the concept of cloud computing, Ellison dismissed the notion that the cloud computing is a new concept. "It's a computer attached to a network," he said.
"Cloud computing is not only the future of computing, it's the present, and the entire past of computing is all cloud," he said.
The cloud still requires components such as databases, operating systems, and memory, said Ellison. He pointed out the seeming absurdity in which cloud computing previously was called the Internet, software as a service, and on-demand computing.
Ellison also described Microsoft as a "very consumer-centric company" that focuses on the Xbox game platform, Zune music-playing technology, and on Google.
"I see them and all of their energies going into being successful in the consumer space," even if Microsoft also is in the business space, Ellison said.
Ellison also stressed there is a bright future for flash storage, saying it allows for a vast acceleration in database performance.
Commenting on politics and the economy, Ellison said he voted for President Barack Obama but added that all of the president's spending programs, including universal health care and cap-and-trade, would be very expensive. Tariffs on imported goods will be needed if cap-and-trade is approved, Ellison said.
He expressed surprise at the high level of spending and added he believed there would be no rapid economic recovery.