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Sun Microsystems To Cut 3,000 Jobs As Oracle Deal Drags On

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the don't-let-the-sun-go-down-on-me dept.

Sun Microsystems 251

afgun writes with news that Sun will be shedding 3,000 jobs, roughly 10% of their workforce, as they continue to lose money while waiting for EC regulators to approve their acquisition by Oracle. "Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison said Sept. 22 that Sun is losing about $100 million a month as the transaction is delayed by the EU probe." James Staten, an analyst with Forrester, said, "The longer a cloud of uncertainty hangs over Sun, that drives customers into delays of purchases or into the hands of competitors. This is a very trying time for Sun and Oracle as they wait for an answer." A spokesman for EU Competition Comissioner Neelie Kroes said today that she "expressed her disappointment that Oracle failed to produce, despite repeated requests, either hard evidence that there were no competition problems or a proposal for a remedy to the competition concerns identified by the commission," and that "a rapid solution lies in Oracle's hands."

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Cloud Computing is Evil!!1! (3, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825369)

"The longer a cloud of uncertainty hangs over Sun, that drives customers into delays of purchases or into the hands of competitors...

I just don't see why Sun needed to use the cloud for uncertainty. Companies have been doing this for years without the cloud. Now they can't control it!

Re:Cloud Computing is Evil!!1! (0)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825649)

Well, I think Sun's real problem comes from being lost behind the Cloud [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Cloud Computing is Evil!!1! (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826903)

and being eclipsed!

Since it is EU that is dragging (-1, Troll)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825385)

Hopefully, the bulk will come from there. My guess is that doing so would speed up the decision to an over night one.

Re:Since it is EU that is dragging (3, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825809)

Why?

They aren't elected by locals losing their jobs, those probing the companies are appointed, and thus have no interest in rushing the decision.

Also a merger between the two companies will likely result in even more job cuts.

Re:Since it is EU that is dragging (5, Insightful)

cbope (130292) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826119)

To prevent a large monopoly from forming around a certain product, service or market? Seems like a good enough reason to me. Monopolies only benefit themselves (the companies that create them) and not consumers. In the EU, at least the government still cares about protecting the consumer. In the US, the companies run the show and the politicians.

Re:Since it is EU that is dragging (2, Interesting)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826305)

To prevent a large monopoly from forming around a certain product, service or market? Seems like a good enough reason to me. Monopolies only benefit themselves (the companies that create them) and not consumers. In the EU, at least the government still cares about protecting the consumer. In the US, the companies run the show and the politicians.

The unfortunate situation in this case is that the probe is using a "guilty until proven innocent" approach of things, thus causing 3K people losing their jobs. Where is the actual, sufficiently reasonable evidence that this merger will result in a monopoly? What other industries will get affected by it? IBM? MS? Large DB software writers? Server manufacturers? MySQL? Who are these potential consumers that must be protected by this evil merge of doom?

This shredding of 3K employees, probably translate to 3K households being affected, in an already affected job market. These are also white collar or almost-white collar workers who, as consumers to other services, will have to cut their spending. And that trickles down to blue collar jobs (in particular in the service sector), possibly affecting several other thousand households (not to mention the impact on the local economies where the bulk of the job shredding take place.) In market economy whether is in either side of the Atlantic, the less that white collar employees spend in their local economies, the more that it affects those that are under a lower income bracket.

So much for protecting the consumer. I agree that monopolies must be stamped out, but this is ridiculous.

Re:Since it is EU that is dragging (2, Insightful)

teh_commodore (1099079) | more than 4 years ago | (#29827061)

It's not the EU that is causing these job losses, it's Sun's piss-poor management that caused them to need to be bought out in the first place.

Re:Since it is EU that is dragging (5, Interesting)

samschof (928254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826407)

Not quite. In the U.S. the primary concern of anti-trust review for mergers and acquisitions is if it benefits or harms the consumer. In the EU, the primary concern is if the merger adversely impacts competition in the market. The failed acquisition of Honeywell by GE was blocked by the EU after being approved by the U.S. The U.S. review stated that bundling of avionics and engines, with some oversight of aircraft leasing by GE would reduce costs for aircraft and, as such, would not harm the consumer. The EU ruled that the merger would provide GE an unfair advantage against European jet engine manufacturers and blocked it.

Re:Since it is EU that is dragging (3, Insightful)

etymxris (121288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826565)

Also a merger between the two companies will likely result in even more job cuts.

Sun has no way of surviving on its own at this point. So Sun is either acquired, or everyone at Sun loses their jobs, ala SGI. By the time this regulatory investigation completes there will be few left to cut.

Re:Since it is EU that is dragging (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826807)

Read TFA more carefully! What Sun ACTUALLY has said is that the cuts are already part of a 1 year plan. Their complaint is that by holding up the deal, the EU is delaying FURTHER CUTS that they can't make until they are sure there will be Oracle personnel to fill those roles.

That is, they really wish the EU would hurry up and OK the deal so they can fire more people faster.

Other than that, Sun's problems are related to the delays in the deal only by coincidence.

The EU has listed specific concerns and is perfectly happy to move the process forward as soon as Oracle addresses them. It has not done so. Yesterday, right here on /. we read one suggestion (spin off MySQL) that would certainly take care of it.

As for U.S. regulators, it's no surprise they've already OKed it. They'll crack the sound barrier getting the rubber stamp out if your market cap is big enough.

mysql? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825387)

So all the fuss is over mysql? which is free? How can there be a monoply on something free

Good news for Apple (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825393)

Apple will be able to cherry pick the top engineers from Sun and continue its relentless assault on every other version of Unix (and suck unix-alikes like Linux). GO APPLE!

Re:Good news for Apple (3, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825549)

Apple will be able to cherry pick the top engineers from Sun and continue [...]

Yeah, because when a company is tight on cash and needs to shed some people, they always dump the "top engineers" first.

Re:Good news for Apple (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825703)

If you've already sold the company then yes you do. And offer them jobs at your new startup of course...

Re:Good news for Apple (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825891)

Yeah, because when a company is tight on cash and needs to shed some people, they always dump the "top engineers" first.

Absolutely.

Engineers will make you money in the future, but sales & marketing make you money TODAY.

Re:Good news for Apple (2, Insightful)

etymxris (121288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826005)

Top engineers left for greener pastures years ago. Few people with highly valued talent are going to stay aboard a sinking ship.

Re:Good news for Apple (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826057)

Top engineers cost more. You can keep two incompetent engineers or keep one competent one. Do you want to announce 3,000 job cuts, or 6,000?

Re:Good news for Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826491)

You mean 1500 instead of 3000. Its been my experience that those at the top are the last to go. If anything, (and this happened when I worked at the DOT), everyone gets bumped down a notch, the person making 20k a year gets bumped out at the bottom and they cheer about how a 400k job got cut off the top.

Ironically, the word was Mourning

Re:Good news for Apple (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825975)

Apple will be able to cherry pick the top engineers from Sun and continue its relentless assault on every other version of Unix (and suck unix-alikes like Linux). GO APPLE!

Go zealots! Save that economy!

just a ploy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825427)

for oracle to drag the deal out and crush sun by letting it bleed money until worthless.

Nancy Kroes? (4, Informative)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825457)

Erm, she is called Neelie Kroes [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Nancy Kroes? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826515)

Erm, she is called Neelie Kroes.

Man, I hated her on Star Trek:Voyager.

EU is to blame (-1, Troll)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825479)

Fuck EU. Dragging the deal because of OSS product. Stupid.

Re:EU is to blame (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825705)

I am a EU citizen and thus far I have been happy by what seemed to be common sence to me with the cases against Microsoft. However N. Kroes just seems to be absolutely fscking retarted instead of enlightened. Since when does a person or a company need to explain why it is doing good? I thought innocent untill proven guilty? What is this bullshit?!

Re:EU is to blame (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826853)

I don't know the law in the EU, but in the U.S. supposedly all corporate charters are contingent on the corporation's existence being in the public interest. The government doesn't even seem to pay lip service to that here, but it is the law. Perhaps the law is the same in the EU but someone is actually upholding it?

Re:EU is to blame (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826093)

Fuck EU.
Dragging the deal because of OSS product.
Stupid.

Haha, yeah! Fuck EU! Fuck America! Fuck the world! Let's be a bunch of angry teenagers and punch walls! I mean who in their right mind would cast doubt on the merger of the companies owning the two, by far, largest commercial OSS database products! And there is no chance in hell Sun/Oracle is using this as an excuse to lay off some unprofitable workforce! Fuck hormonal inbalance and puberty!
 
Kids...

Re:EU is to blame (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826929)

And there is no chance in hell Sun/Oracle is using this as an excuse to lay off some unprofitable workforce!

I think there's very little chance of that. Everyone knows massive layoffs are an inevitable consequence of most large-scale mergers, so no one is going to hammer Oracle too hard if they lay some people off when the merger is complete. Given that, they have little to gain by forcing Sun to lay people off right now. Also, there's no doubt that other companies, especially hardware manufacturers, are doing everything they can to exploit the uncertainty and poach Sun's customers. IBM and HP have both admitted as much. So, while the $100 million a month figure may or may not be exaggerated, Sun is definitely losing customers, and therefore revenue, at a very rapid pace these days because of this delay.

Also, until the Change in Control takes place, the companies are still required to operate as two separate entities. If it was discovered Oracle was exerting enough control over Sun to order them to shed employees, Oracle would be in a heap of trouble with regulators on both sides of the pond.

FTFY (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825487)

EU Competition Comissioner Neelie Kroes

Re:FTFY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29827157)

FTF Yerpean Union?

I must be missing something (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825489)

I don't really get this. If you Oracle on Solaris is a good solution for you today, will it become a bad solution if the merger isn't approved?

Also, how do you produce "hard evidence that there were no competition problems"? Tell them you looked really hard but couldn't find any counterevidence?

I'm ambivalent about Sun and am definitely not an Oracle fan, but I don't really see the problems here.

Re:I must be missing something (5, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825537)

Also, how do you produce "hard evidence that there were no competition problems"?

Point out the existence of Postgres?

Re:I must be missing something (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825775)

I've been using MySQL for about ten years, mainly because I've become pretty durned familiar with it. However, all these antics and all this uncertainty is making PostgreSQL look considerably more attractive. To be honest with you I'm feeling that way about a lot of Sun's products. The uncertainty is making me uneasy about Java as well, and I sure the hell wouldn't do anything in OpenSolaris right now.

Re:I must be missing something (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826397)

and I sure the hell wouldn't do anything in OpenSolaris right now

Why the hell not?

Re:I must be missing something (5, Interesting)

JumpDrive (1437895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826837)

What the EU has been driving at is the assimilation of MySQL by Oracle.
Even as a Postgres user I'm willing to admit that MySQL is used in a much larger number of databases.
So the issue isn't that there is an alternative, it's that a significant number of people are using MySQL in production environments.
And believe it or not the EU considers that there is a serious amount of momentum for the end user if they are already using MySQL.
The concern they have is that MySQL would be abandoned by Oracle. Leaving a large number of people with concerns about what they are going to do for support.
If Oracle would spin MySQL or seperate MySQL from the deal, this thing would be over in a couple of days.
Currently what Oracle and Sun are saying is, if you don't let us have MySQL we are going to start laying people off and it's your fault.
. So now they are playing a game of chicken.
The only problem is that the EU usually takes into account these type of tactics and realizes that no matter what happens a large number of people are going to lose their jobs.
Here in the US congress would be crying about the job loss we were creating by not letting the deal go through.

I'm becoming a little more impressed with the EU's dealing with these types of issues. They seem to be a lot more business savvy compared to the counterparts in the US.

Re:I must be missing something (2, Informative)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825695)

If, by not merging, Sun goes out of business, then no more support for your newly purchased equipment. Of course, I don't have any idea how likely Sun is to go under, but that's what they're trying to allude to in pressuring the EU. As for counter evidence, just point to all the competing products/companies that will still exist in their markets after the merger.

Re:I must be missing something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825787)

You can't depend on support from Oracle until the merger goes through, and Oracle can't really guarantee anything until the merger goes through.

I do agree with the sentiment though, and especially with the rest of the statement.

Re:I must be missing something (1)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825925)

It's not about Solaris. It's about MySQL [arstechnica.com]

Re:I must be missing something (2, Interesting)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826121)

Why is it not about Java also? MySQL is big but Java is bigger.

Re:I must be missing something (1)

reashlin (1370169) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826251)

Because Oracle does not already own the biggest programming language in the world. This all revolves around the fact that Oracle are attempting to own two of the biggest (if not the biggest) Database solutions out there.

Re:I must be missing something (2, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826393)

Because Oracle doesn't already offer a competing product in the same market space as Java, raising concerns about anticompetitive squashing or stifling of Java.

OTOH, MySQL runs the perceived risk of being the fifth wheel in the "Oracle RDBMS über alles" mindset that much of the community fears (wrongly or rightly).

On a slightly offtopic note: I wonder if this comment will preserve the umlaut-u I put into the quoted phrase there.

Re:I must be missing something (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826869)

Because Oracle doesn't have a competing VM, but does have a competing DB? (And even has a free DB that was a direct response to MySQL?)

Re:I must be missing something (2, Informative)

wsanders (114993) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826067)

The problem is that the longer the decision is delayed the longer Sun's EU employees get to keep their jobs doing .... whatever it is they do.

I dunno what Sun people do anymore. Every time I've called Sun for the last 5 or 6 years they seemed only vaguely interested in selling me a computer.

Re:I must be missing something (3, Funny)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826351)

Wow, that's the first time I've seen Oracle used as a verb. You've been Oracled on must mean something like Larry has peed on your rose bushes (egads, not again). Solaris probably will get Oracled on.

Re:I must be missing something (4, Interesting)

Life2Short (593815) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826483)

What do these companies do with all of these employees? They had 30K and can cut 3K at the drop of a hat? Adobe has about 7K, Google 20K, Apple 32K, Microsoft 91K and IBM nearly 400K!! What do all of these people do? By way of comparison, Harvard has 13K and GM had about 245K. How many TPS reports do 10K employees generate?

Re:I must be missing something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826631)

they manage them

Re:I must be missing something (1)

debrain (29228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826877)

Also, how do you produce "hard evidence that there were no competition problems"? Tell them you looked really hard but couldn't find any counterevidence?

Sir-
Cite existing studies, or alternatively commission a study by a market research / auditor like PWC or Deloitte of:

1. the market effects of the merger upon the same types of products and services that are offered by both companies, which study ought to (if the merger is to be approved) indicate that there is a limited impact upon the competition in all of the significant types of products and services where both these companies presently provide products and services in the marketplace; and

2. the ability for the merged company to exclude the products and services of other companies now that the two have merged, and the likelihood and market effects of that possibility of exclusion; which study ought to (again, if the merger is to be approved) indicate that there is a limited likelihood or impact upon competition because the company can now exclude other companies from its decisions.

The prior is to recognize and prevent the creation of horizontals (i.e. the single provider of a product or service, e.g. Microsoft-OS's) and verticals (i.e. the single provider of an entire product from start to finish, e.g. Monsanto-food).

The EU commission wants to know, I suspect, whether this merger will make Oracle the only provider of certain products and services (e.g. databases), or alternatively whether it will make Oracle a single solution provider at the expense of others (i.e. bundling the Oracle database with Solaris operating systems with Sparc servers so as to exclude PostgreSQL, Linux and Intel). In the prior case there are obviously other databases, PostgreSQL, etc., and in the latter there are clear reasons why the merger wouldn't hurt the OS or server market (namely there is vibrant competition in both with Solaris). That's just my opinion, though - I don't know the details.

The lady's name is Neelie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825511)

Not Nancy.

This is goat5ex (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825519)

Under the GPL. t4e reaper BSD's

Aren't these both US companies? (1, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825521)

Why does Europe get to hold up a purchase of an American company by an American company? Or is that not the case?

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (5, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825603)

They both operate in Europe as well. When you're a large, multinational corporation you generally have to accept regulatory practices of each nation you wish to operate in.

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826459)

The EU is a nation now? ...pfft.

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (1)

josteos (455905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826823)

It's that kind of misunderstanding that led Bush to pronounce it 'Ewwww'.

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825711)

Because Sun and Oracle want to be able to sell their products in Europe. If they decided not to then, by all means, they can ignore the EU's authority.

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825731)

If you don't like the laws of the land, take your business elsewhere. Sun and Oracle are more than welcome to leave.

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826433)

I wish they would leave, and leave you Eurotrash pricks scrambling for... for... for what exactly I am at a loss to say. Someone tag this story "andnothingofvaluewaslost."

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (1)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826457)

If you don't like the laws of the land, take your business elsewhere. Sun and Oracle are more than welcome to leave.

And I'm sure every single European Sun/Oracle user who has invested millions in Sun/Oracle infrastructure will be more than happy to see them go (and sacrifice their investment) just to prove a rhetorical point of view.

In fact, this is not about not liking a law, but about having to face the consequences of a given interpretation and execution of a law where such interpretation and execution are of nature that is uneducated at best and ideologically malignant at worse.

I always thought that Europe would hold on to the enlightened principle of "innocent until proven guilty". Guess not.

I don't like monopolies either, but there is no logic or justification behind this particular case. Take ideology and sentiment out, observe the case (and the available evidence) objectively, and you will arrive to that conclusion... if you are a reasonable person capable of objective analysis.

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825769)

I'm wildly speculating here since I'm not a monopoly expert (or IANAME as you probably call it), but my best guess is that both companies may be selling some of their products on European markets (yep, they use markets for business stuff, too). Therefore they are both what I'd like to call "multinational companies". And since the EU is comprised of multiple nations, they probably have some prior art or somesuch in this case.

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825795)

Europe gets to define their laws... Oracle and Sun can merge as fast as they want if they do not want to do business in EU

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825803)

I imagine it's because Oracle and Sun both want to continue to do business in Europe?

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (0, Troll)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826133)

It is the EU job to keep down all those awful American Based Companies. If these companies had a strong European presence do you think they would be as hard on them. Probably not.

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826523)

What a load of bull crap. Every time I see that Calimero argument while some European companies are also under investigation or getting hefty fines with regards of anti competitive behavior... .

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (1)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826359)

Why does Europe get to hold up a purchase of an American company by an American company? Or is that not the case?

Ever heard of multinationals?

Re:Aren't these both US companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826887)

Why does Europe get to hold up a purchase of an American company by an American company? Or is that not the case?

Why? Because the US dollar is so worthless, and your country is run so badly, that the Eurocrats used their strong currency to purchase the USA in a leveraged buy-out financed by the Chinese. /ducks

Like other badly-run organizations, the USA is worth more as its constituent parts than as an integrated whole.

MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taking (5, Insightful)

etymxris (121288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825597)

I don't even know why Sun paid a billion for it in the first place. IIRC, most of the original people behind it have left and started their own companies around mysql open source forks, or gone to other projects. The supposed "ownership" Oracle will have seems mostly worthless. If they were rational they would have jettisoned MySQL at the first sign of EU resistance.

That said, I have little sympathy for the EU here. They're taking hundreds of millions of dollars out of Oracle/Sun's coffers due to the delays, then turning around and saying that the burden is on Oracle to prove it's innocence. If the EU is going to be so disruptive to businesses, they need to act quickly and with their own resources. I'm no fan of corporations, but the EU looks to be clearly in the wrong here.

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825807)

Surely this was rather predictable. Oracle need better lawyers who would have advised them. Where was their planning?

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825833)

Oracle and Sun obviously engaged in some sort of discussions where they agreed to buy Sun if Sun would by MySQL. That way, Oracle could acquire MySQL with less of a concern, because while some people will (and have) focused on the potential unfair business practices the acquisition would pose, Oracle can say "sure, we're interested in MySQL, but we're more interested in all this OTHER stuff which is why we really bought Sun".

In other words, Sun execs want to cash out and get rich at the expensive of what was once a great company. Oracle wants MySQL. Oracle backroom deals with Sun to purchase MySQL, deflecting the incredible concern that there would be with a direct MySQL sale to Oracle. Then Oracle promises to gobble them all up six months later. Jonothan shakes on it and heads back home in his chauffeured limousine to issue an edict to the HR department to layoff ten thousand employees so he can keep things afloat while he rolls in his Oracle cash.

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (1)

reashlin (1370169) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826287)

Quick someone buy this man a tinfoil hat

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (5, Insightful)

gclef (96311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826405)

That said, I have little sympathy for the EU here. They're taking hundreds of millions of dollars out of Oracle/Sun's coffers due to the delays

Oh, nonsense. An organization the size of Oracle had to know that a merger like this would attract regulatory scrutiny. Every single news story about this has brought up that regulators would be looking at this one carefully. This shouldn't be a surprise that it's getting attention. Also, anyone who's paid attention to the Microsoft battles with the EU should have been aware they the EU competition regulators are much stricter than the US regulators.

Basically, for Oracle to pull this deal, they had a responsibility (I'll even go so far as to call it a fiduciary duty, since it's apparently costing them lots of money) to be ready for this scrutiny. This story seems to indicate that they weren't.

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826933)

Kind of.

The problem is, loosing hundreds of millions of dollars is worth it, if there is a chance they can get control over MySQL. MySQL's existence easily takes away more than that from Oracle's annual profit. So by not letting go of MySQL, they actually are handling their fiduciary duty quite well.

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (4, Funny)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826463)

If they were rational they would have jettisoned MySQL at the first sign of EU resistance.

But they aren't Rational. Rational is owned by IBM. [ibm.com]

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826525)

They'd probably go a long way toward making the Europeans happy if they'd spin MySQL off as an independent organization. Ellison needs to decide which he wants more--the ability to kill off a competing database (and let's face it, that has to have been the intent) or to be in control of where Java goes from here. The latter would seem to be the bigger plum.

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (1)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826671)

The fact that you have little sympathy for the EU here, without any stated reasons - it is coming from the guts, is exactly why Larry managed to use this nonsense to hide their own evil reasons for the layoffs, by using people who bend forwards and follow up on the nonsense. Stop being Larry's instrument. You look clearly wrong here. And hey, I provided actual argumentation, unlike you.

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (1)

etymxris (121288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826943)

In case it wasn't clear enough for you, here are my reasons:

1) EU places the burden on Oracle to prove that the deal will not harm competition. That's not just.
2) Oracle has no real control over MySQL anyway.
3) Sun is quickly withering into a worthless husk of its former self the longer this deal is delayed.

Let me try to reconstruct your argument:
1') I don't state any reasons for disliking the EU.
2') Oracle is laying off these workers due to (unstated) evil reasons.
3') Oracle is using people like me who "bend forwards" to mask the evil reasons behind these layoffs.

I'm not sure what you're conclusion is supposed to be, but regardless, it's a horrible argument. (1') is clearly false as my reasons have been elucidated. (2') doesn't even make sense since Oracle doesn't even have control of Sun yet. I'm not sure what the evil reasons are supposed to be, but regardless, a lot more people are going to lose their jobs the longer this drags on. (3') isn't true in the slightest. I have no love of Oracle and would never recommend their products to anyone. I am not particularly happy to see Sun buy Oracle but I'm even sadder to see a somewhat open source friendly company like Sun wither away due to the delays of the EU regulators.

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (1)

smartr (1035324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29827045)

I don't see how the EU dragging its feet one way or the other is helping anybody but Sun's competitors. I suppose the theory is "competition" will be promoted by poisoning a weak competitor. There's no "yes/no/x stipulations", there's just feet dragging.

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826681)

MySQL is just a front end to a back end storage system. Perhaps the goal is to start peddling a commercial MySQL installation, compatible with current MySQL installations, but has an Oracle DB backend for more enterprisey features!

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (1)

demachina (71715) | more than 4 years ago | (#29827015)

People use MySQL because its free, simple and easy. If they wanted an expensive Oracle DB they would be using..... Oracle.

There is a near certainty Oracle is looking to mess with MySQL one way another or they would have spun it out of this deal already and it kinds of looks like the EU knows it. Oracle can't exactly kill MySQL since its open source but they sure can mess with it in to the future and force a migration to a fork and a new brand name which is usually messy. I doubt Ellison has any love loss for MySQL considering A) he is ruthless and B) MySQL and other open source DB's have cost him billions over the years.

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (4, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826899)

If they were rational they would have jettisoned MySQL at the first sign of EU resistance.

The fact that Oracle didn't do exactly that is really the strongest indication that Oracle really did have some anticompetitive intent with the acquisition. I can't really see what (nefarious schemes to kill it off would most likely be unsuccessful, as would locking it in, etc), but then I could never really see what Oracle could get out of the acquisition.

They're taking hundreds of millions of dollars out of Oracle/Sun's coffers

Would Sun magically stop bleeding if the merger completed? Maybe if Ellison went 'k thanks oh btw you're all fired' on the first day. But really, in the short term I don't see the schedule of the merger really affecting the scale of the losses. The uncertainty of Suns customers wouldn't be ameliorated by having Oracle finalized as an owner, so pretty much the only thing that'd change would perhaps be the interest rate on some loans.

It simply isn't the EU that's causing the losses and they'd be there either way.

Re:MySQL isn't nearly worth the losses Sun is taki (3, Interesting)

demachina (71715) | more than 4 years ago | (#29827069)

Exactly right. Chances are Ellison is loving this since he can blame the carnage on the EU, he gets SUN to take all the charges for the layoffs, and he gets rid of people he would have fired the day after the merger closed anyway. Only interesting question is if Schwartz and SUN decided who got canned or if Ellison and Oracle are deciding. Chance are SUN at least consulted with Oracle on who got the ax.

OssSQL survey says! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29825609)

SELECT * FROM oracle WHERE competitor = 'mysql';

Empty set, 2 warnings (0.01 sec)

Re:OssSQL survey says! (3, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826361)

INSERT INTO oracle
(acquisitions)
SELECT employees
FROM competitors c
WHERE c.Company = 'mysql';

ALTER TABLE oracle RENAME COLUMN acquisitions TO interns;

Are you sure you would like to commit the following transactions?

Regulatory agencies run amok (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825707)

Does it do the public any good, if the regulatory agency kills the competitor being acquired, by delaying a decision?

By the time the acquisition is approved or rejected, Sun will be basically dead, and barely have any role as the competitor, anyways.

Re:Regulatory agencies run amok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826079)

Out of curiousity, has Sun given any actual proof that their reasons for laying people off are actually because they're apparently in the red and not just because they're trying to apply pressure to the EU union by making the regulators look like "the bad guys"?

The counter evidence they have to provide is that they will still have competition after the merger isn't it? If so, show the regulators who your significant competitors will be. If you can't, either you're not looking (meaning Sun IS the cause of the delay) or there is none. (Meaning the merger should not be allowed to go through.)

Besides, do they have evidence that they're losing customers directly due to the hangup in the merger or are their marketing people just assuming? :P If a customer thought it was a risk to buy their stuff because they won't be around much longer, I don't see how the merger would change their opinion. Unless of course Sun is expecting to completely merge Oracle into it's existing workforce and lay off a lot of people that "duplicate" work. (Meaning these 30k people will probably lose their jobs anyway.)

Re:Regulatory agencies run amok (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826101)

Sun will be basically dead, and barely have any role as the competitor, anyways.

So, if the situation is unchanged, whats the rush?

Re:Regulatory agencies run amok (3, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826263)

Does it do the public any good, if the regulatory agency kills the competitor being acquired, by delaying a decision?

By the time the acquisition is approved or rejected, Sun will be basically dead, and barely have any role as the competitor, anyways.

Obviously if you read TFS Oracle is responsible for not providing substantial data. If this was truly a harmless move they would have stopped this fictional $100 million/month charade and sold off MySQL already. But they don't want to. Why? Because they want to own 100% of the OSS database enterprise market. So they get Sun to use the opportunity to fire 3000 people instead and say: "LOOK WHAT YOU MADE US DO!" With or without MySQL the merger will take place, they will fight until the bitter end, but either way those 3000 layoffs were probably planned months ago. You don't suddenly fire 3000 people, and anybody who think this is anything but months of planning and execution is naive and has never worked within management.

Re:Regulatory agencies run amok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826839)

Does it do the public any good, if the regulatory agency kills the competitor being acquired, by delaying a decision?

By the time the acquisition is approved or rejected, Sun will be basically dead, and barely have any role as the competitor, anyways.

Well, now Neelie is such a good friend of Steve over at MS, I wonder if she cares too much about Sun taking a hit?

Did the US regulators have the same concerns? (5, Insightful)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#29825855)

Did the US regulators have similar concerns? If not, why not? If they're genuine concerns - they sound like it - why is it just the EU that's following them up?

There generally seems to be a certain amount of frustration that the EU is holding up companies of US origin, although actually they have significant financial impact (and offices and presumably regional headquarters and subsidiary companies) in Europe too. Presumably Oracle and Sun *themselves* could have predicted these hurdles if they'd done their homework - is it really that outlandish to expect that merging two leading (albeit in different markets!) database companies would be a worry for the regulators?

Presumably Oracle and Sun would be welcome to merge if they had terminated their entire presence in Europe - they're not proposing doing that and one assumes it's because Europe is a big enough financial interest for them that they believe it's *worth the wait*. They may not have a choice, in practical terms, but one assumes they have years / decades of making money from their European dealings so it's not like the EU is just a plain dead weight for them.

This is the same EU that is cracking down on anticompetitive behaviour from MS and Intel, which generally seem to be popular moves with folks here. Would the tech industry really be in a better position if they reduced their scrutiny? Or if they applied it only to certain companies.

To me it seems a bit "convenient" that, in an economy where many jobs have to be lost anyhow (and as a merger is occurring, which may also naturally lead to job losses) people are blaming job losses solely on the regulators doing their jobs and not on sharp practice, opportunism or plain lack of co-operation from large multinationals operating in a cutthroat market.

Re:Did the US regulators have the same concerns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826009)

I believe that US regulators looked at it, noted all the other databases available (including from some company in Redmond), and decided it wasn't a problem.

The US regulators had other concerns . . . (2, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826213)

Did the US regulators have similar concerns? If not, why not?

. . . like GM, Chrysler, Wall Street, Savings & Loans . . . etc. All looking for government bailouts.

Oracle's Ellison was willing to bankroll the rescue of Sun with his own money.

With so many other headaches on their plate, the government was probably just happy to see a solution for Sun that didn't require gobs of taxpayer money.

Re:Did the US regulators have the same concerns? (2, Insightful)

KlaasVaak (1613053) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826259)

Did the US regulators have similar concerns? If not, why not? .

Because they have a different philosophy than the EU. The EU has been the leading anti-trust regulator in the world for a long time now simply because they believe it's in societies best interest to force companies to compete whereas the US believes more in the innovative power of unregulated companies and thus have a more laissez-faire attitude.

Re:Did the US regulators have the same concerns? (3, Interesting)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826307)

Did the US regulators have similar concerns? If not, why not? If they're genuine concerns - they sound like it - why is it just the EU that's following them up?

There generally seems to be a certain amount of frustration that the EU is holding up companies of US origin, although actually they have significant financial impact (and offices and presumably regional headquarters and subsidiary companies) in Europe too. Presumably Oracle and Sun *themselves* could have predicted these hurdles if they'd done their homework - is it really that outlandish to expect that merging two leading (albeit in different markets!) database companies would be a worry for the regulators?

I was wondering this too. What I've seen so far of Neelie Kroes in the last couple of years, she's been very fair, and quick to act if she could. It's only when companies are dragging their feet and fail to reply to the raised concerns that get raised. And she might have given some big fines to US companies, the biggest and most fines have still been applied against EU companies.

And given that Oracle is acquiring MySQL with this merger, I think the EU certainly has a point, the only other sizeable players remaining are PosGreSQL and Microsoft. Basically you end up with a market that looks similar to the OS market with Linux and OSX as competitors to Windows, and for the OS market I think Windows has been ruled a (near) monopoly on both sides of the Atlantic. I think the EU is well within its rights if it wants to prevent the situation that the current OS market is in.

Re:Did the US regulators have the same concerns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826553)

And again, let's just play the blame game. You have to lay off about 10% of your workforce, which is really not a popular move at all. Would you rather:

a) Divert attention from your own game of poker and blame the stubborn, evil regulators [sfgate.com] instead? Due diligence anyone?
b) Go into the details of your less-than-ideal-management which made you need a strong partner in the first place [sfgate.com] ?

Regulators... (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826769)

Presumably Oracle and Sun *themselves* could have predicted these hurdles if they'd done their homework - is it really that outlandish to expect that merging two leading (albeit in different markets!) database companies would be a worry for the regulators? ........ Would the tech industry really be in a better position if they reduced their scrutiny? Or if they applied it only to certain companies. ...... To me it seems a bit "convenient" that, in an economy where many jobs have to be lost anyhow (and as a merger is occurring, which may also naturally lead to job losses) people are blaming job losses solely on the regulators doing their jobs and not on sharp practice, opportunism or plain lack of co-operation from large multinationals operating in a cutthroat market.

Yup... it brings back memories from the recent past when all kinds of people were whining, pissing and moaning about how evil regulators stood in the way of Wall Street in it's quest to make the world a better and wealthier place with innovative financial products and free market fundamentalist dogma. In the middle of this stirring chorus of people chanting "deregulation" in perfect harmony.... BAM.... alluvasudden we had our selves a global banking crash. Now those same people are asking: "where were the regulators?" It just goes to show that humans are funny critters with short and selective memories. IMHO Oracle is getting to be every bit as much of a problem due to their size and market dominance as Microsoft is and you could add quite a few other companies to this list of corporations that are getting way too big in various different tech markets (Apple, Google... the list goes on) without hearing any objections from me.

Re:Did the US regulators have the same concerns? (0, Troll)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826809)

Did the US regulators have similar concerns? If not, why not?

Because apparently, our government is beholden to business and business only and is corrupt as hell as well, and Europe's governments aren't?

To me it seems a bit "convenient" that, in an economy where many jobs have to be lost anyhow (and as a merger is occurring, which may also naturally lead to job losses) people are blaming job losses solely on the regulators doing their jobs and not on sharp practice, opportunism or plain lack of co-operation from large multinationals operating in a cutthroat market.

Amen to that.

The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826107)

a woman making technology decisions......

the news now consists of all form of FUDgePacking (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29826237)

as opposed to acknowledging stuff that really matters. the corepirate nazis are going DOWn the (you?)tubes anyhow, so flashing their phony #'s about is just more bad theater. robbIE has deleted most of our posts today. what a surprise.

we're thinking he chipped in on this program,
yro /. censorship (Score:mynuts won, the 'king' is still a fink?)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, @09:36AM (#29822581)

robbIE deleted a post with this reference moments ago. what a cad.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/21/new.york.subway.ads/index.html
FUDge on bobert.

Ellison (4, Interesting)

TopSpin (753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826355)

Larry doesn't mind; the EU delay gives him a scapegoat for the layoffs.

Those of you fixated on MySQL: Sun sells hardware, software licenses and contract support to enterprises that use SQL Server, DB2, SAP and other direct competitors of Oracle, meaning the some DB2 users (for instance) will find themselves relying on Oracle for support of certified DB2 platforms... MySQL may be the least of whatever "competition problems" the EU has in mind

Re:Ellison (3, Insightful)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826609)

Also, high end Oracle databases typically run on either Linux for distributed (cheap) clusters, or HP-UX/Solaris on high end hardware for big monolithic installations. Oracle already has their own Linux distribution that they push pretty hard, and once they buy Sun they'll own a major commercial UNIX player, too.

Oracle has traditionally been buddy buddy with HP, but since the announcement of the Sun deal, they've started giving them the cold shoulder. While I doubt they'd drop HP-UX support entirely (there would be outrage), I can certainly see them doing things to try to push people onto Solaris or Oracle Linux, on Sun hardware, and wrapping everything up as a neat package deal.

Not guilty until proven? (1)

Carra (1220410) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826713)

Oracle failed to produce, despite repeated requests, either hard evidence that there were no competition problems

I thought the accusers have to come up with the evidence in a court case?

Re:Not guilty until proven? (1)

edmudama (155475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29826909)

That, and I'm not sure how you produce hard evidence that something as vague as "competition problems" do not exist.

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