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Oracle Offers the EC a Deal: NY Post

Proposal involves a “separate entity” that would put a “firewall” between MySQL and the rest of Oracle

Mergers & Acquisitions on Ulitzer

Oracle has offered to cordon off MySQL inside a combined Oracle-Sun to get the European Commission to approve its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun ahead of a hearing set for next Thursday, according to the New York Post

The paper, quoting two unidentified sources, describes the vague Oracle proposal as a “separate entity” that would put a “firewall” between MySQL and the rest of Oracle and says it could involve a separate board.

Oracle has previously vowed to get the Sun acquisition, which has been dragging on since April at great cost to Sun, cleared by the EC regulators without any conditions.

A person described as familiar with the situation told the paper the only reason Oracle CEO Larry Ellison blinked is that “it is the only way to get the deal done.”

Underscoring the fact that the report is unconfirmed, Florian Mueller, the spokesman for the open source opposition to Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL, said it is “definitely unacceptable for MySQL users because what MySQL needs is an economic entity behind it that has every possible incentive to compete with Oracle’s core business and has no inhibitions in that regard. There has to be an unfettered business that really wants to succeed, grow and innovate in every way imaginable, not a toothless tiger in a cage.

“Pseudo-autonomy is not the answer because the people running an Oracle-owned MySQL business unit at all levels would know exactly why Oracle acquired the thing in the first place: to pull the teeth from its fiercest competitor. No corporate officer or employee wants to become the victim of his own success. Failure to grow and innovate MySQL would ultimately be rewarded by Oracle as an owner that has too much at stake in its high-price core business and that's why this just wouldn't work.”

Mueller contends that “Oracle could make a lot of money from spinning MySQL off and if Oracle truly wants to forgo all of that money, then the motivation can only be an anticompetitive one.”

Others have speculated that Oracle could never recoup the billion dollars Sun spent to acquire MySQL with the EC pointing a gun at its head to dump the $25 million-a-year concern.

Mueller also pointed that any proposal from Oracle that the Commission might consider would be market-tested like the Microsoft ballot screen resolution to the EC’s objections to the Internet Explorer browser being bundled with the Windows operating system.

Mueller says, “We haven’t seen anything like that in this case.”

In the Microsoft process browser rivals have reportedly been successful in wringing further concessions from Redmond, suggesting that serious opposition could doom the reported Oracle workaround.

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

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