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US Senators Give Ellison a Hand

11.26.2009
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59 US Senators signed a request this week asking the European Commission to expedite its investigation of the Oracle-Sun deal.  The letter was addressed to the EU's head US delegate, Angelos Pangratis.  The signatories, led by Senators John Kerry (D) and Orrin Hatch (R), came from both Democratic and Republican parties. 

Kerry explained the reasoning behind the request saying, “The deal between Oracle and Sun was announced in April and seven months have gone by without a resolution.  Continued delay of the European Commission’s decision on clearance threatens thousands of American jobs, so we felt compelled to ask for a speedy resolution.”  Based on these statements, the US seems to be in Larry Ellison's corner.  Ellison, the Oracle CEO, has repeatedly blamed the EU for the thousands of jobs that have already been cut at Sun Microsystems.  However, MySQL cofounder Michael Widenius says the blame should be levied against Oracle for not spinning off MySQL and placating the EU.  The sale of MySQL is the EU's key concern.  The EU says its sale could reduce the amount of economical alternatives to proprietary software.  

The battle over Sun really started to heat up earlier this month when the EU lodged a formal Statement of Objections against Oracle's acquisition plans.  A formal objection is the first part of the process for blocking an acquisition.  According to the EU, Oracle has not produced evidence against, or a remedy for, the competition problems outlined by the commission.  When the objection was filed, Oracle fired back with its own statement, saying that the EU had a "profound misunderstanding" about database competition and "open source dynamics".

The Senators seem to agree with Oracle, saying "We have been informed by Sun Microsystems that their subsidiary, which competes in this specific market [the database market], generates only €17 million in revenue and that the same market has competitors with capitalizations of tens of billions of Euros."  Senator Kerry added that the US Justice Department approved the merger months ago, making what he believes to be a strong case against anticompetitive allegations.  Senator Hatch made more aggressive statements against the EU, saying “I have become increasingly concerned about the growing body of evidence that foreign regulatory agencies are unfairly using their review processes to impede the business of American corporations.”

So how will this affect the outcome of the Oracle-Sun deal?  Who is to blame for Sun's ongoing job cuts?  Tell us your opinion.

Comments

Mike P(Okidoky) replied on Thu, 2009/11/26 - 11:48am

Scary stuff. A whole bunch of people on both sides of the pond, that know nothing about technology, yet get to stir things around that affect us developers that depend on the existence of this technology.

I know at least one company that would *love* to see all of this go to hell. Perhaps the EU's motivations should be investigated...

Martin Brehovsky replied on Fri, 2009/11/27 - 12:21am

What really surprises me is the fact there could be a couple of thousand employees of Sun in EU. The longer the approval will take, the more people will loose theirs jobs. Congrats to the commition - you will achieve more and more people not having job and less of their taxes in your hands - good job!.

Mark Haniford replied on Sat, 2009/11/28 - 11:21pm

Hatch might be completely right and it might not just be a case of the ignorance of EUrocrats, but a more insidious political motive behind this.   If the EU blocks this move I would hope the US retaliates against EU companies.

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