The day the story came out, Apple stock shot up 11% in heavy trading.
To add to the frivolity, Ellison set up an email address, savapple @us.oracle.com,
asking the general public to vote on whether he should go ahead with it.
Jobs was somewhat amused by Ellison's self-appointed role.
"Larry brings this up now and then," he told a reporter. "I try to explain my role at Apple is to be an advisor."
Amelio, however, was livid. He called Ellison to dress him down, but Ellison wouldn't take the call.
So Amelio called Jobs, whose response was equivocal but also partly genuine.
"I really don't understand what is going on," he told Amelio. "I think all this is crazy."
Then he added a reassurance that was not at all genuine: "You and I have a good relationship."
Jobs could have ended the speculation by releasing a statement rejecting Ellison's idea, but much to Amelio's annoyance, he didn't.
He remained aloof, which served both his interests and his nature.