Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: John Basso, David Sprott, Gerardo A Dada, Elizabeth White, Greg Schulz

Related Topics: Recurring Revenue, Java IoT, Open Source Cloud, Government Cloud

Recurring Revenue: Article

US Senate Pushes EC on Oracle-Sun Merger

Oracle just asked for and got more time ostensibly to develop its arguments

Mergers & Acquisitions on Ulitzer

The United States Senate waded into the Oracle-Sun imbroglio Tuesday.

Fifty-nine senators from both sides of the aisle led by one-time presidential hopeful John Kerry (D-Mass) and perennial presidential pretender Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) signed a letter to the European Commission asking it to wrap up its investigation of the Oracle-Sun merger as soon as possible pleading Sun's precarious financial position and its inability to continue to employ thousands of people endlessly under current conditions.

The senators - there are only a hundred of them - tried reasoning proportion with the EC saying, "It is our understanding the Commission is concerned about competition in the database software market. However, we have been informed by Sun Microsystems that their subsidiary, which competes in this specific market, generates only €17 million in revenue and that the same market has competitors with capitalizations of tens of billions of Euros."

In an explanatory statement accompanying the letter Kerry said, "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. The EC is within its sovereign rights to set the rules for operation in its market, but with our Department of Justice having made a compelling case that the merger does not pose a threat to competition, it is fair to ask the EC for the basis on which a delay on decision making is warranted and to make a decision one way or the other."

Hmm. "One way or the other."

Odd thing about the delay is that Oracle, which has complained to just about everybody about the EC's foot-dragging, just asked for and got more time ostensibly to develop its arguments.

What use six more days will be to Oracle is a question. The regulator seems intent on blocking the merger unless Oracle divests MySQL, which - come to find out from the senators' letter only generates a pissant $25 million in revenue, half of what was generally supposed when Sun bought the thing for - be still, my heart - a frigging billion dollars.

Senator Hatch's statement was a bit testier and mirrors more accurately American public option.

"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," he said. "This transaction has been thoroughly reviewed by the United States Department of Justice, which has decided to take no action. Therefore, I hope the EC will quickly conclude their investigation into this transaction."

The Senate's letter is the second time Washington has commented on the EC's intransigence on the Oracle-Sun merger.

On November 9, the day Sun got the EC's reportedly 155-page statement of objections, the Justice Department issued a statement saying that it had looked at the MySQL issue and concluded that "the proposed transaction is unlikely to be anticompetitive."

There are plenty of open source and proprietary databases, it said, and so the consumer is unlikely to be harmed. Plus there's a large community of MySQL developers and users with the expertise to maintain, improve and support it.

Such a thing seems to make no never mind with the EC, which thinks Oracle will adopt a licensing and development strategy that prevents MySQL from cannibalizing its revenues even though hasn't happened yet and they're in two separate markets, as Oracle has maintained.

The DOJ's tone was civil - and although its statement hints - as many people surmise - that the EC is bent on a political agenda having little to do with antitrust issues, relations between the two bodies have yet to degenerate into the prickly tension that marked their affairs after the EC blocked the GE-Honeywell merger a few years back.

Still with each passing day the EC, widely seen as a victim of misguided principle, makes itself a bigger target for the critics who see it as a protectionist haven for every malcontent competitor who can't cut it in the marketplace; who wonder what bright boy made it judge, jury and executioner; who are uncomfortable with its 16th century Star Chamber-like level of secrecy and its guessing game set of rules; and who question its objectivity, which was recently criticized by its own overseer after reviewing the Intel antitrust case.

European lobbyist Florian Mueller, who's working for MySQL creator Monty Widenius on opposing Oracle's acquisition of MySQL - though both men made a killing when Sun bought MySQL for a ludicrous billion dollars - claims the Senate gambit isn't going to work and that the "revenues argument is pointless."

"Twitter had zero revenues last year but no one could argue it wasn't a major force in the market," Mueller said, suggesting that the 59 senators should send Larry Ellison a letter asking him to commit to divesting MySQL so he can close the transaction quickly.

"Oracle could have a deal any day of the week by giving up MySQL," Mueller said.

However, John Briggs, an antitrust expert and an old Brussels hand, told Reuters the pressure from the US senators could affect the EC's decision. In his opinion it "will have a hard time ignoring this."

OK, so other than Thanksgiving why did Oracle really want more time?

Apparently to bring pressure like it just did with the senators.

And it got the hearing that was scheduled for November 25, the day before Thanksgiving, shifted to December 10 according to Reuters.

Apparently Oracle could have asked for more than six days. Apparently it was the one who asked for the six-day grace period. The God of the Book of Genesis created the world in six days. Does Larry actually expect to change the EC's mind in an extra six days? God, people say, had an easier job.

Apparently Oracle blew through a November 20 deadline to come up with a remedy. And it now has at least until November 30 to come up with one and avoid an automatic three-week extension of the EC's final decision, whose deadline is now January 27 instead of January 19. So if Oracle doesn't come up with an acceptable solution we could be talking about a final decision on February 17, close to 10 months after Sun and Oracle cut their deal. Meanwhile, the delay is said to be costing Sun a $100 million a month.

Former Ellison lieutenants swear that Larry ain't as perturbed about the EC's delay as Oracle lets on, that he ain't gonna pay the nominal $7.4 billion ($9.50 a share) he offered for Sun (nominal less the money Sun has in the bank) and that he's going to renegotiate the price down complaining that Sun has been materially damaged by the EC's dicking around.

They also say that Ellison could give a hoot about MySQL - it would be nice to have and he doesn't want a serious competitor to have it - but it's not the reason he's interested in Sun. Java, Sparc, Solaris and the Sun installed base is what he's after.

It's hard to imagine Ellison backing off from this fight but, if he wearies of it, he might offer to dump MySQL into an open source project or foundation like, say, Eclipse, or maybe he just needs six days to cut a handshake deal with a company that won't do much at all with MySQL and distancing Oracle from the licensing control that seems to have the EC so perturbed.

It can't control who Oracle might spin it off to.

By way of revenge, if it goes to a player, odds are Oracle will then do whatever's possible to stomp that sucker flat - even if MySQL isn't a direct competitor of Oracle's database.

That said here's the Kerry-Hatch letter:

Chargé d'Affaires Angelos Pangratis

Acting Head of Delegation
Delegation of the European Commission to the United States
2300 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Dear Chargé d'Affaires Pangratis:

As fellow government officials committed to the principle that competition is the cornerstone of healthy economic growth, we would like to take this opportunity to share our thoughts with you as to the proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Inc. by Oracle Corporation.  In addition, due to Sun Microsystems' deteriorating financial condition and the possible negative effect on employment of the company's workforce, we respectfully request the European Commission expedite the completion of its investigation into this transaction.

The United States Department of Justice, after an intensive investigation, closed its inquiry into this transaction without taking any action. In fact, the Justice Department did not find documentary evidence that this acquisition would harm competition. We recognize that the European Commission has a sovereign right to thoroughly investigate transactions where corporations utilize the European Union's marketplace. Further, it is our understanding the Commission is concerned about competition in the database software market. However, we have been informed by Sun Microsystems that their subsidiary, which competes in this specific market, generates only €17 million in revenue and that the same market has competitors with capitalizations of tens of billions of Euros.

Unfortunately, Sun Microsystems' financial position has become more precarious and the Commission's inquiry has continued. Some have raised concerns over the company's ability to continue to employ its thousands of workers. Accordingly, we respectfully request the European Commission complete its investigation of this transaction as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

See http://kerry.senate.gov/cfm/record.cfm?id=320244 for all the signatures.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.