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Senators Ask EC To Let Oracle-Sun Deal Go Through

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the sun-is-setting-fast dept.

Businesses 183

An anonymous reader writes "The European Union has managed to do something that US Presidents often find difficult: to make 59 US Senators from both sides of the aisle agree on something. A group led by John Kerry (D) and Orrin Hatch (R) has sent a letter to the European Union, asking it to wrap up the investigation of the Oracle-Sun merger and let the deal go through. Interestingly, the letter emphasizes the damage the delay and uncertainty are doing to Sun." The article paraphrases a Gartner analyst, who points out that the Senators' letter "comes from a US point of view and doesn't take into account how the EU operates."

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Glad I am not the only one believing that... (5, Insightful)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225046)

From TFA:

"The DoJ runs on completely different competition rules than the EU," he said. "The DoJ looks at where there is harm to consumers. Their decision is businesses can look after themselves. The EU is more likely to be protective of competitors. They believe trade is better with more small competitors."

I am glad I am not the only one believing that... ;-)))

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225146)

Mysql is going to get forked over.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (4, Insightful)

gorfie (700458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225150)

I was interested by that part of the article as well. What's wrong with encouraging fewer monolith corporations and more small competitors? However, I don't see how that philosophy plays into the Sun/Oracle situation. Two years from now we will either have a single Oracle/Sun company or a single Oracle company.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (3, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225260)

I agree with you, I didn't write: "that philosophy plays into the Sun/Oracle situation" ;-))

But can we be absolutely sure that Oracle buying Sun was the one and only way to get Sun out of financial problems ?

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (4, Insightful)

HanzoSpam (713251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225580)

But can we be absolutely sure that Oracle buying Sun was the one and only way to get Sun out of financial problems ?

No. They could always have accepted IBM's offer. Pick your poison.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (5, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225678)

Honestly, I think that Sun would have been just as ripe a takeover target for Cisco, who has been recently expanding into the server space. Buying Sun would get them an instant, firm beachhead, as well as merging two companies with highly complementary product lines. Cisco's high end networking gear plus Sun's high performance server line make for an excellent one-stop data center shop for people who don't want to compromise on equipment quality.

Other possible buyers of Sun could be any high end network equipment OEM that's cashed up. If Apple wanted to enter the lucrative server space, acquiring Sun would be a good start, as they have a similar hardware+software as a platform culture. Apple has some server products out there, so presumably they want to at least have a presence, and Sun would be a great way to turn "kind of exists in the space" into "major player in the space".

Oracle+Sun doesn't make sense from a hardware point of view, I just don't see Oracle branded servers happening. From a DB point of view it makes even less sense to me. Oracle is just buying up its most threatening competition with no real apparent strategy.

Personally, I think it's competition elimination, and the DoJ was insane to allow it through. The EU is right to block it. There are better suitors for Sun that are more likely to result in a stronger product range for consumers.

Cisco+Sun (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226874)

Oracle+Sun doesn't make sense from a hardware point of view

Imo, Cisco+Sun doesn't make sense from a software point of view (mysql, java, openoffice, netbeans, etc).

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225268)

Two years from now we will either have a single Oracle/Sun company or a single Oracle company.

Only if you believe that a company the size of Sun can disappear in a puff of smoke. :-)

Sure, Sun would probably go bancrupt. The profitable parts (and some non-profitable, but believed to be profitable or able to be made profitable) would be sold off. A bunch of employees would start their own "Sun 2". Consulting firms would step in to take over maintainance contracts.

Interesting stuff happens when the old dog leaves the barn, you know?

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225722)

The profitable parts (and some non-profitable, but believed to be profitable or able to be made profitable) would be sold off.

or, rather, the 'expensive' employees will be RIF'd.

I was. we had a large RIF about 3 weeks ago. didn't make the news did it? curious, that.

sun can go to hell now, for all I care.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (2, Interesting)

citab (1677284) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226254)

Two years from now we will either have a single Oracle/Sun company or a single Oracle company.

Only if you believe that a company the size of Sun can disappear in a puff of smoke. :-)

Sure, Sun would probably go bancrupt. The profitable parts (and some non-profitable, but believed to be profitable or able to be made profitable) would be sold off. A bunch of employees would start their own "Sun 2". Consulting firms would step in to take over maintainance contracts.

Interesting stuff happens when the old dog leaves the barn, you know?

of course they can... remember DEC? Digital was going up in a puff of smoke until Compaq acquired the remains.

Where are the Alpha boxes and OSX now?

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1)

HanzoSpam (713251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225566)

What's wrong with encouraging fewer monolith corporations and more small competitors? However, I don't see how that philosophy plays into the Sun/Oracle situation. Two years from now we will either have a single Oracle/Sun company or a single Oracle company.

Indeed. You would think the choice was between an independent Sun and an Oracle owned Sun. Actually, it's between an Oracle owned Sun, and no Sun at all.

In my book, that one should be a no-brainer.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225168)

Will the racist picture of Michelle Obama affect the decision? Surely the GNAA cannot disrupt the Sun Oracle deal...

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1, Interesting)

Virak (897071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225198)

That quote is rather bizarre. It seems to be implying that having a market utterly dominated by a few large companies instead of being composed of many smaller, less individually influential ones isn't harmful to consumers.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225242)

Is it? If you forced Microsoft to split into several parts each offering their own branched operating system, you would reduce large-firm dominance, but there's no promise this would be anti-harmful to consumers. If you forced Microsoft to split into several parts but retain the OS section in one of them, you have implicitly acknowledged an economy of scale and integration argument for large companies.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225386)

We're currently in the situation that the biggest software firm in the world has a hard time delivering an operating system that surpasses the offerings of both a very small competitor and a bunch of hippies with computers (slight exaggeration). Yet the ubiquitous presence of Microsoft operating systems, even in places where they are very clearly not a technological fit, is untouched, and the price of Microsoft software keeps rising to levels where the retail price is almost twice the price of the hardware. This is not economics of scale at work. This is monopolistic marketing resulting in prices which are not justifiable by product quality. Another example: Microsoft is the reason why netbooks are almost exclusively sold with no more than 1GB of RAM and hard disks no bigger than 160GB, despite RAM and hard disk capacity being dirt cheap anywhere else. The price of the package is such that the full price of the Microsoft OS would make it unattractive, but the reduced licensing costs dictate these restrictions on RAM and HD capacity. Microsoft is actively holding back the development of mobile computing because they're not ready for it, and they can only do so because they're in a monopoly position.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225658)

Apple doesn't sell an Operating System. They sell "an experience." I'm not interested in "an experience" when I turn on my computer. I want a fucking OS that lets me do what I want to do on the hardware I chose. Linux is great, but isn't ready for wide-scale use. I gave Ubuntu a try and after 6 months willingly chose to buy Windows XP. Not because I was ignorant, forced or tricked into buying it. But because I had made an informed decision after trying the alternative.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30226184)

Apple sells computers, which include an operating system, and which has specific benefits and flaws when compared to other operating systems.

Some people like the functionality of the Windows OSs.

Some people like the functionality of Linux OSs.

Some people like the functionality of OSX.

And some people are offended so highly and so badly affected by groupthink that they're reduced to profanity when explaining how they chose to purchase the obsolete technology which best fits their needs.

I use all three, for different tasks, and I don't see any way in which OSX is "an experience" over XP, and many ways in which Linux being more of an "experience" would improve it.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226644)

Apple is also most definitely not a "very small company".

I gave Ubuntu a try and after 6 months willingly chose to buy Windows XP.

FWIW I used a couple of different flavours of Linux as my desktop OS for a couple of years at work, before finally switching to XP. I made an informed decision too, and have recently upgraded my home PC to Windows 7.

It annoys me when some people here assume that everyone using Windows is doing so only because they know no better; for some of us, it really is the right tool for the job.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30225836)

I completely disagree - open source OSs are not viable alternatives for worldwide adoption. Sure they are, if you can spend several years training every person in the world solely on computer use, or if you can mandate that only clever people are allowed to use computers, but the knowledge required to use OSS alternatives are higher than for Windows.

It's contradictory to claim that Microsoft is used on platforms where there is no technological fit and that there, their pricing is higher. Platform developers are free to choose their operating system, and e.g. their share of the smartphone market is very limited. If the developer of a Smartphone is free to choose another OS, how is not the operator of an airport free to choose another OS for their display screens?

Of course, you can come up with sociological arguments regarding hurdle costs and inefficient-steady-state preservation. But so could I. If you open up to sociological arguments, there are no limits to what causes and effects can be claimed.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30226358)

You missed an important fact: We're not looking at market economics. Microsoft is a monopoly. It can set the prices at will (within the bound created by the cost that a would-be competitor would incur overcoming Microsoft's monopolistic status). This also means that Microsoft can (and does) use its monopolistic profit to maintain its status by undercutting attempts of competition. The smart phone market is an excellent example, because it takes a free competitor to dislodge the abomination that is Windows Mobile (not counting Apple, because, as you correctly noted, their OS is not available to other manufacturers). And just free isn't even enough: Manufacturers need promises of additional revenue and concerted marketing. No company without massive cross-financing opportunities could enter that market.

A note on the viability of Open Source operating systems: That isn't the point. The point is that a company with the resources that Microsoft has should have absolutely no problem producing something far better, yet they struggle to stay a step or two ahead of amateur-written software that mostly just fails in the market due to lack of usability polish (and I'm not talking about visual effects).

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226506)

We're currently in a situation where the low hanging fruit of operating system design has pretty much all been plucked. There haven't been very many major advances in Operating Systems in quite some time. The only reason why Linux appears to be moving ahead more rapidly is because its UI was previously so abysmally poor, and UI Is what is most apparent to people actually using the system. That's not to say that Linux is bad, or Microsoft is good, or Apple or anyone else for that matter. I'm just saying that the only places we've seen major advances in Operating Systems are in areas where the previous iterations of that product were particularly abysmal(Security for Windows, User Interface for Linux). Even OS X which is arguably the largest OS change in the last decade wasn't really any sort of great leap forward in design, even if combining the Unix back end with the Mac front end was rather clever.

Microsoft Operating systems are ubiquitous because people are familiar with them, and because for the most part they do what they're supposed to and are relatively stable. There are certainly a number of specialized devices running on Windows(particularly XP) which would probably be better served with a customized Unix or Linux implementation, but the companies producing them obviously don't want to go down that route.

As for the price argument. Hardware is getting a lot cheaper to make, and Software is getting a lot more expensive to make, of course the OS is becoming more and more a part of the cost of the machine. Linux isn't getting any cheaper to make than Windows is, the people who make it just donate their time for free for their own reasons.

Mobile computing is being held back(if you can call it held back) because netbooks are a stupid idea. They'll be gone in less than 5 years. An underpowered computer with a tiny screen which is barely more capable than your phone, and barely lighter(or for that matter all that much cheaper) than a fully functional laptop computer is not a long term viable strategy. Laptops will get lighter and phones will become more functional and the netbook niche will rapidly vanish. It also has huge problems with power consumption. Netbooks aren't low powered because they're cheap(the screen is a lot bigger part of the cost of one of those things than the hard drive anyway), they're low powered because they have to run for several hours on a tiny battery, and they have to do so without catching on fire. Making a netbook isn't as simple as just cramming hardware into a tiny box.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226664)

Netbooks a stupid idea?

Odd that you think that. As much as I would love to agree with you I can't. I had a netbook given to me, and try as I might I can't get rid of it. Even my wife who rarely uses computers at home is constantly grabbing the netbook. Why? Very simple because it is convenient and ties very well into the "cloud" life style. A netbook is the ideal marriage between the notebook, and the mobile device. I have a smart phone, and small netbook and still have a netbook. And this netbook runs Linux and I am very happy.

If you had told me this before I got one I would never have believed you. But it is something that surprised the heck out of me. Would I get another netbook? Absolutely... Or I am willing to wait for the Apple tablet...

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 3 years ago | (#30227124)

Mobile computing is being held back

by netbooks? Granted the netbooks re-directed the notebook market. INHO netbooks forced VISTA to be re-focused in Windows 7 to be somewhat efficient and smaller, (since MS had to continue XP until something from MS that ran on netbooks was available) so if you wanted more OS bloat then yeah netbooks held back the market.
    It is clear the market was headed toward the MAC route, IE more bloated (but powerful) software needing more bloated hardware to have everything at a price (>=$1000). The only reason IMHO that you can buy a $500 laptop today, is because of the netbook influence, those were disappearing fast until ASUS saw a niche and jumped. pre-netbook Mobile PC's were following one of 2 options, A constantly growing larger notebook as a Desktop replacement that can be moved. Or the very pricey, everything cramed into a smaller package, priced for business use. And nothing for affordable mobile "on the plane/bus/car pool" use.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1)

Virak (897071) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226502)

Well first, your suggestion is utterly asinine. If you break their OS division into a bunch of companies and have them each develop their own fork of Windows, you won't get a bunch of new OSes magically, you'll get a bunch of slightly different forks of Windows. And then they probably find some way to work together to avoid pointless duplication of effort. Everyone's software will still work on all the new Windows forks, so there'll be no reason for developers to make their applications portable. And still nobody will be able to develop their own Windows, so it really won't offer any real competition. Basically, it won't fix the market and you could never pull it off anyway.

Personally, if I could choose any way to deal with it, I'd force the source of Windows (and perhaps some other products) open, put it under GPLv3 or something like that, and split the company up a bunch, with no more than one major product to each resulting part. Realistically, there's no way you could get away with open-sourcing software by force, so I'd settle for just breaking it up. This isn't "implicitly acknowledging" anything like you said, it's just that doing stupid things like splitting the same product division into multiple companies isn't going to help anything. At least keeping them all apart would prevent them from abusively leveraging their power in one market to assist them in another, or providing special capabilities to some of their applications but not those developed by others.

Really, if you wanted to deal with an abusive monopoly in a situation like Microsoft, the only way to deal with it quickly and easily is to prevent them from becoming an abusive monopoly at all. Sort of like what the EU is trying to do here. But they didn't and now it's too late. Now the best they can do (besides things that will never happen like what I suggested) is split it up and keep a very close eye on the resulting pieces. But doing that sort of thing would be difficult in the land of Freedom and Dangerously Unregulated Business that is America, so I wouldn't get my hopes up too much.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225398)

No it doesn't. In fact it says the exact-opposite: "The EU believes trade is better with more small competitors."

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225564)

I thought the quote was "The DoJ runs on completely different competition rules than the EU... The DoJ looks at where there is harm to consumers. Their decision is businesses can look after themselves. The EU is more likely to be protective of competitors. They believe trade is better with more small competitors."

I think this implies that (in the view of the quotee), the EU believes that "trade is better with more small competitors", but the DoJ does not.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 3 years ago | (#30227070)

It is two sides of the same problem.

Competition law = towards perfect competition.

Under perfect competition (Free Market) consumers are better off.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1)

Virak (897071) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226144)

I'm talking about the "The DoJ looks at where there is harm to consumers" part of the quote. He's saying the EU is "completely different" from the DoJ and the DoJ would never do this (being concerned about keeping the market full of lots of small competitors), thus implying that he thinks that a lack of competition is not harmful to consumers. Or perhaps he was just very bad with words and meant to say that the DoJ only deals with stuff it thinks harms consumers (not that objectively harms consumers), and thus is hilariously incompetent and overlooks concerns like this.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1)

Mattazuma (1255022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225286)

I think it is more like the EU would prefer a few large European companies and smaller non-European competitors. If this was SAP buying Sun, it would have been approved months ago.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225506)

Maybe you just have a limited view about what the EU does in competition cases because most competition cases (let alone Euro-centric ones) simply don't make it to Slashdot. See e.g. http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1228499&cid=27904971 [slashdot.org]

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (4, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 3 years ago | (#30225910)

I think it is more like the EU would prefer a few large European companies and smaller non-European competitors. If this was SAP buying Sun, it would have been approved months ago.

Yes it would have been approved months ago, but not for the reason you mention. It would have gone through as SAP does not produce a major product in the database market.

The European Competition Commission did not block the sale of MySQL to Sun. That was a big American company buying a smaller European company. They are now questioning (with good reason) whether the number of major players in the Database market should be reduced as Oracle gain even more dominance. Now in an ideal world the sale would have been turned down in the US, but the problem is that SUN may not survive on its own so it has to be taken over by someone. It is currently losing $100 million a month (http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10379673-92.html).

This is what the US senators are trying to get over to the EU. They are desperately hoping that all the Sun employees in the US do not go adding to the high unemployment there already. However the European Commission has the opposite worry: They are probably very concerned that MySQL will be wound up by Oracle who see it as undercutting there flagship database product. This will contribute heavily to European unemployment instead. Even if the MySQL product continues I cannot see why you would not start to rationalise the development of both products and try and get the two teams more entwined. I know the two products are very different, but the skillset of two teams must be similar and it would be an obvious way to cut SUN's overheads since the majority of the development is community lead anyway. They would try and tempt some Lead MySQL dev's to the states then just cut the rest loose since most of the non-open source parts of MySQL are the parts aimed at enterprise that probably do not sit very well with Oracle anyway.

Ultimately it is highly unlikely that the sale will be blocked, but it is more likely that Oracle may be forced to sell the MySQL division or their existing InnoDB division as a condition of this purchase. I would be quite happy to InnoDB and MySQL rolled into one then sold. This is probably highly unlikely though.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225294)

Peel the layers off the orange. Sun owns MySQL. Oracle wants to own Sun. :. Oracle owns Sun owns MySQL.

We can argue the merits, both pro and con, for that inheritance of ownership upon MySQL's future, but I think in the end, the EU should take its time in understanding Mega King Kong Industry like acquisitions and their effect upon creative open source market influences and alternatives.

The one thing this filthy American pig can appreciate, as I stare at my AT&T bill and ponder how humpty dumpty Ma Bell was put back together again, and why I still can't get FiOS, is that the EU tells King Kong NIMBY - to the benefit of emerging open source service markets there. Besides, Kerry, Hatch, Feinstein, and Boxer are probably the worst consultants we have on American Industry health. If those 4 alone are for it, I say let this merger die a quick and merciful death. Instinct alone from these 4's track record tells me both sides of the pond will be the better for it.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225462)

>>>as I stare at my AT&T bill and ponder how humpty dumpty Ma Bell was put back together again, and why I still can't get FiOS, is that the EU tells King Kong NIMBY - to the benefit of emerging open source service markets there.
>>>

Ma Bell has not been recreated. Ma Bell was a monopoly, whereas today you have many choices for your long distance service. You can even change companies on a whim, simply by buying a competitors' calling card (I have AT&T long distance but my calling card is Sprint).

As for FiOS it's a new technology (2005). It will take time for it to spread. I've found one problem with Americans is that they are inpatient, and they expect everything done NOW. You can't convert the whole continent to fiber in just five years.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225322)

From TFA:

"The DoJ runs on completely different competition rules than the EU," he said. "The DoJ looks at where there is harm to consumers. Their decision is businesses can look after themselves. The EU is more likely to be protective of competitors. They believe trade is better with more small competitors."

I am glad I am not the only one believing that... ;-)))

Yes, I'm sure SAP agrees with you.

This is nothing more than the EU protecting a European company from stiffer competition.

Selection bias (again) (5, Informative)

rve (4436) | more than 3 years ago | (#30225970)

This is nothing more than the EU protecting a European company from stiffer competition.

Selection bias. When the EC recently ordered the breakup of two of the world's largest financial institutions (one of which was the largest in the world), you didn't hear about it, because they are based in the Netherlands and the UK and don't make gadgets. As such it's not news that's relevant to slashdot or any other American media, or so you will never hear about it.

The same story with european grocery giants, beer giants, engineering giants and petroleum companies that have been investigated or sanctioned by the EC. By definition, you will never hear about it unless the target is a multinational based in the US, because you have no reason to read foreign media.

I actually do think the EC anti trust office has overused its power under the current commissioner, especially when it comes to dismantling banks, but there is no evidence for any bias based on countries; the harshest measures have been against European companies.

Re:Glad I am not the only one believing that... (0, Flamebait)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 3 years ago | (#30227040)

That is true.

But basically the United States don't get competition law at all.

From an ordoeconomical perspective the justified elementary function of governmental intervention is to enforce market competition. Competition of course also benefits the procurement side (consumers) but that is a side effect. There also may be some cases where there is too much competition but that is a fringe case.

Competition law creates a free market, a "free competitive market". In ideal terms there should be no market entrance barriers.

The other aspect is of course that it is not upon US parliamentarians to interfere into the internal matters of the European Union, that is our market rules. I find that extremely unprofessional lobbying.

Do they own Sun shares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225062)

Do they happen to own shares in Sun by any chance?

SAP vs Oracle (3, Insightful)

argoth (21958) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225102)

SAP 1 Oracle 0

As a European, let me be the first to say... (1)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225114)

Ah, what the heck they said it much better than I ever would [youtube.com] . The fake French accent only adds to the hilarity.

The EU doesn't answer to the US (0, Troll)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225124)

Although the US assumes everybody will do when they say on pain of being the next military target that's not the way it works out in reality.

The EU bureaucrats serve themselves.

Hold on (4, Insightful)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225132)

According to what was made public Oracle was made aware of the reservations of the EU commission, on which Oracle answered: "That they are essentially dumb farks that understand neither business nor open source".

For starters: This is not a clever approach to deal with the European commision. Oracle could sell MySQL and there would be no problem at all. But no, ol' Larry decided to get confrontational.

Further, the EU Commissions role is to ensure a competitive, fair and transparent market and to protect the consumer from abuse not to ensure Suns or Oracles profit, as the letter appears to imply.

Thanks for trying, but no cigar for you senator dudes.

Re:Hold on (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225290)

For starters: This is not a clever approach to deal with the European commision. Oracle could sell MySQL and there would be no problem at all. But no, ol' Larry decided to get confrontational.

A confrontation is hard, but that's more of a showdown. What's even worse than a confrontation is the kind of death march you get when only your side is bleeding. The EU buereucracy isn't "losing" money in the same way Oracle does even though it's very wasteful.

Re:Hold on (4, Insightful)

JamesVI (1548945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225628)

This whole situation says much more about Ellison and Oracle than it does about the EU. Everyone already knew that the EU Commission marched to a different drum beat than the DOJ. It really doesn't matter whether the commission is right or wrong according to some external measure (i.e. everyone's personal opinion), they have the last word on this merger.
The mergers and acquisition group at Oracle should have known what they needed to give the commission before the deal was even publicly announced and then handed the commission everything they would need to make a rapid decision. That might have included Ellison deciding up front to jettison MySQL immediately after the acquisition. Right now the decision is being held up because Oracle has asked for more time to prepare a response.

Re:Hold on (1)

middlemen (765373) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226018)

The mergers and acquisition group at Oracle should have known

Sorry to remind you that M&As mostly for huge corporations such as Oracle are handled by the likes of Goldman Sachs and their brethren, who as we all know are the quintessential causes of the financial crises (yes, plural) of today. To think that they knew beyond their own arrogance is to ignore recent history!

Re:Hold on (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225390)

Further, the EU Commissions role is to ensure a competitive, fair and transparent market and to protect the consumer from abuse not to ensure Suns or Oracles profit, as the letter appears to imply.

Paradoxical, isn't it.... that a bunch of Eurocrats are now appearing to be more concerned about maintaining a competitive market than the governing body of the USA which was founded on a platform of rejecting oligarchic rule by degenerate aristocrats and royalty in favor of democracy and equal opportunities for all. It's almost embarrassing to contemplate how low the the US senate had to sink to create this impression.

Re:Hold on (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226580)

I don't think a competitive market is what will come of the EU blocking the merger. In fact if Sun goes down on its own, there will be less competition in the server market....

Without Oracle (or somebody's help), Sun is going down hard. They have contributed enormously to the computing industry, and unlike another OS vendor out there lots of their technology has been shared with the world.

From my perspective, I can only think the EU has alterior motives in blocking the Oracle/Sun merger.

Re:Hold on (1)

EvilAlphonso (809413) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226998)

From my perspective, I can only think the EU has alterior motives in blocking the Oracle/Sun merger.

You mean like killing the constructor that supplies most of the computing infrastructure? It's no secret that most EU institutions are very big Sun customers.

Re:Hold on (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225484)

The European Commission is not a democratically elected body and has time and again shown itself to be very open to favoring business interests over consumer protection. The EU Commission will also outmaneuver the European Parliament in the matter of giving access to all inter-bank financial transactions in the EU (the SWIFT network has bowed to public pressure and removed its servers from US soil, where US intelligence could get access to this data under US law. The public and the EU parliament, an elected body of the EU, are in harsh opposition to a treaty which would (will) reestablish US access to the financial transaction data, but the EU Commission will not respect that at all. The EU commission is exactly who you want to be talking to when you need to do something against the will of the public.

Re:Hold on (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30226164)

In the same way I can say that the US Government is not a democratic elected body.
Tell me which American has chosen his Secretary of Defense. Even the president is not elected by the people.

Same with the European Commission. The European people chose a European Parl. who on their turn chose a Commission Chairman. The democratic elected governments of the EU Memberstates then select someone they want as Commisioner, these posts are approved by the again Democratic elected Parliament.

Please think twice before you say something about democracy. A true democracy only exists if every man, woman child can vote on every subject....

Re:Hold on (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#30225860)

I think the interesting fallout of this is that large corporations may find that it is too risky to operate as a large multinational corporation. The regulatory environments are too different. That's an interesting (and perhaps welcome) check on the size of a corporation, at least with the variety that operate both in the US and Europe.

OTOH, what with the distinction being less clear between private and public money in Europe, I can't help wonder if the EU isn't just protecting its own corporate interests.

Re:Hold on (1)

augustw (785088) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226596)

what with the distinction being less clear between private and public money in Europe

Not really; the Commission is very hard on all, and any, state aid to industry. There's really nothing like the US pork-barrel allocation of public there.

Re:Hold on (1, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226140)

FTFS:

The article paraphrases a Gartner analyst, who points out that the Senators' letter "comes from a US point of view and doesn't take into account how the EU operates."

Combining that with your comment:

Further, the EU Commissions role is to ensure a competitive, fair and transparent market and to protect the consumer from abuse not to ensure Suns or Oracles profit, as the letter appears to imply.

The obvious implication is that the Senators in question (as well as the FTC) think that their job is to protect Sun's and Oracle's profits, not protect citizens from abuse. That says loads about the state of the US federal government right now. In addition, there's good reason to think that they didn't expect the public to find out about their actions, or if they did, interpret it as the senators protecting their jobs from the evil European socialists.

Re:Hold on (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 3 years ago | (#30227116)

That is an observation you generally make. In the United States antitrust policy is not taken serious by business and institutions seem to get bullied. That is not the way you are expected to deal with a European competition regulator.

In particular you don't question the basics of competition law when they caught you.

Enough already (-1, Flamebait)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225152)

The EC has to stop interfering in things it does not understand.

First the ridiculous Microsoft case, and now this?

Re:Enough already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225248)

Because any criticism of the EU must be a troll....

Re:Enough already (2, Insightful)

sim82 (836928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225576)

The EC has to stop interfering in things it does not understand.

First the ridiculous Microsoft case, and now this?

The easiest way to stop the EC from interfering is by not selling your products on the European market.
Use our market, obey our rules. Simply put. (It's a bit like the old American saying about 'eating cakes' ...)

Re:Enough already (1)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225634)

The sun/oracle merger would not violate any rules. It's just that the EC does not like the idea of it.

Your lobbyists at work (5, Interesting)

smurfsurf (892933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225154)

"managed to do something that US Presidents often find difficult: to make 59 US Senators from both sides of the aisle agree on something."

The lobbists agree => the senators agree.

Re:Your lobbyists at work (4, Insightful)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225482)

The lobbists agree => the senators agree.

Agreed. And I never understood why people aren't up in arms over the lobby situation. Isn't lobbying just organized corruption?

Re:Your lobbyists at work (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225736)

Lobbying is specifically permitted via the first amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

That said, I share your perception that the lobbying process is a corrupt one and that it almost entirely is the result of businesses and unions, who DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE. I have always felt that one huge step towards remedying this perception is to eliminate all limits on campaign contributions but to also permit campaign contributions ONLY from registered voters that are legally able to vote for the candidate. This would prohibit all political contributions from businesses and from unions, who cannot vote, and it would prohibit political contributions from people in other countries. It also would mean that as a resident of Texas I could contribute whatever I wanted to a candidate in the Texas Governors election but I could not contribute money to the Florida Governors election.

I also believe that if we were to repeal the 17th amendment and go back to the original way of electing United States Senators (selection by the state legislatures) we would see less corruption at the federal level. I am not saying this would eliminate corruption, but I believe it would force US Senators to become much more focused on serving their own states than the federal government.

Re:Your lobbyists at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225618)

The recession must be hitting Larry if he can only afford 59 senators ...

Re:Your lobbyists at work (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 3 years ago | (#30225844)

Do the lobbists threaten to throw stones at the senators if they don't cooperate?

Re:Your lobbyists at work (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226536)

No, they just lob them.

No legitimate concerns (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225184)

Why is the EC holding this up? There are no legitimate concerns...MySQL is OSS, so let it be.

I can't help but feel the EC is trying to set an example, at the expense of actually doing the correct thing.

Re:No legitimate concerns (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225498)

In other words the EU is more like the US then Europeans want to admit. They keep insisting "We are not one single country" even though it's clear to outside observers that's exactly what they have become, and as the central government starts regulating nitty-gritty details like how fast you can drive on your roads, or the universal drinking age, it will become self-evident.

BTW European readers:

Please don't call me an "American". Like the EU we are not only single country; we are many. Please call me "Virginian". Thank you. /end sarcasm

Re:No legitimate concerns (1)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225632)

As a European, I can tell you the EU is a joke, the EC is one of the few things in the Union that seem to work.

Re:No legitimate concerns (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225752)

Funnily enough, all those details you mention are not within the control of the european commission, and people would probably be up in arms if they wanted to regulate drinking age or maximum speed.

Re:No legitimate concerns (4, Interesting)

Matje (183300) | more than 3 years ago | (#30225964)

If you're going to be pedantic I'll join :)

You are, in fact, an American. The US is a federation, meaning power is granted by the federal government to the lower states. So the government of the US determines whether a state can set a legal drinking age, or whether that is up to the US government itself. The European union is a union of sovereign states. It is the sovereign states that determine (together) which powers are granted to the union government. That's quite a big difference.

Another way to determine your nationality is to check your passport. Mine certainly doesn't say European Union like yours says United States ;)

Re:No legitimate concerns (1)

arethuza (737069) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226620)

I don't have it handy but I'm pretty sure my UK passport has "European Union" on the cover with "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" under it.

Re:No legitimate concerns (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226670)

Wrong. [wikipedia.org]

Re:No legitimate concerns (1)

Matje (183300) | more than 3 years ago | (#30225918)

I think one concern is that allowing Oracle to control MySql is in a way asking the fox to guard the henhouse. If the solution is to wait for a fork of MySql, then you might as well force Oracle to divest MySql directly. Else you've effectively allowed Oracle to kill of the MySql brand.

Another thing is that Oracle formally announced the merger two weaks earlier in the US than in Europe, effectively making sure that the US authorities would be first to publish their verdict. As I read it in the newspaper, that is not the normal procedure and it may have irritated the European Commisioner. Mrs Kroes has a reputation for toughness so the current powerplay will like do little.

Re:No legitimate concerns (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 3 years ago | (#30225938)

MySQL is OSS but the problem is that if you fork it you will end up with something that is quite difficult to support commercially because it will be gpl only, meaning that you can't use the mysql lib(And thus mysql itself) from closed source(Or just non gpl compatible) software.

When Sun runs out of money, layoff Euro workers (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225192)

The EU is asking Oracle to prove a negative.

They're just fucking with the evil US.

EU has a limited view on data store competition (1, Interesting)

olivierva (728829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225210)

IMHO the EU has a fairly limited view on data storage, the biggest challenge Oracle will face in the next 10 years is answering the question: why do we need a relational database to store our data? I find developing with Java / Hibernate against a relational database very time consuming and was it not that I invested so much time and effort in learning these technologies I would drop them straight away and explore alternatives. The fact that Oracle will add another SQL database to their product range doesn't change this fact that much at all. What I'm trying to say here is that the European Commission doesn't seem to understand that the competition will come from a completely different direction. And keeping the different database brands separate doesn't matter that much.

Re:EU has a limited view on data store competition (1)

qazsedcft (911254) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226122)

I'm just curious to know what storage technology you would use instead of relational databases for those kinds of applications.

Re:EU has a limited view on data store competition (1)

olivierva (728829) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226712)

Lots depend on what you want to do with your data of course and relational databases will always have their place but two technologies which spring to mind are: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadoop [wikipedia.org] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MapReduce [wikipedia.org] Also the fact that it is hard to merge the relational database world with the object oriented world will (imho) be tackled at some point. In a lot of project I've been working on a considerable amount of development/sys admin time is spent on 'storing and retrieving data'. It seems only logical to me that people will look for or develop cheaper and easier to implement and maintain alternatives so they can concentrate on more exciting problems

Re:EU has a limited view on data store competition (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226792)

Object oriented databases, probably. There's gonna be a standard any day now.

Sorry Blairs not in at the moment (-1, Flamebait)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225410)

Please call back at another time, the rest of us are not your bitches (in particular I doubt the French are keen on taking advise from people so petty they renamed their French fries)

Re:Sorry Blairs not in at the moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30226324)

LOL French fries are Belgian :p

Re:Sorry Blairs not in at the moment (1)

dyefade (735994) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226540)

Doesn't matter - the act was still a petty attack on the French.

"Doesn't take into account how the EU operates" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225478)

In short, there was no bribe money for the EU commissioners.

Because that's how the EU operates.

And you can be sure SAP knows that.

France and Russia (not EU, but they DO have the oh-so-"sophisticated" European view of corruption....) even sold their UN Security Council votes to Saddam Hussein for oil contracts.

Re:"Doesn't take into account how the EU operates" (1)

sabs (255763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225626)

The US sold it's wold wide credibility and good will for no-bid contracts in Iraq.

Actually that's not fair. A few politicians sold America's Good Will for 10 pieces of silver and huge profit margins for a few military contractors.

The US got overwhelming debt and a loss in international standing out of it.

Sun needed some gadgets (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30225528)

They were set up to become an open source Apple if they wanted to be, and expand their offerings outside enterprise/business, just as an addition. Hardware and open solaris. They just needed some electronic gadgets to get consumer awareness going.

US Constitution Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30225648)

A US president has never convinced 59 US senators for one very obvious reason

Re:US Constitution Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30227058)

Really?

State of the Union Messages to the Congress are mandated by Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution which states,"He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;"

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/sou.php [ucsb.edu]

Oposite result (4, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 3 years ago | (#30225882)

Lets see if I got this right:
- The legislators of the 2nd largest western economy, pushed by lobbyists and in order to further the economic gains of companies based in their economic zone try to interfere in the internal affairs of the top largest western economy.

Sure, that's bound to work.

It's just as likely succeed as it would be if members of the European Parliament where trying to influence the US competition authorities with regards to European companies that have activities in US soil.

It's very simple, if Oracle wants to sell in the European markets they have to obey the European fair-competition rules. If they don't like them they can leave the market. In the same way, if any European company wants to sell in the US market they have to obey the US fair-competition rules or leave the market.

Honestly, Oracle having the legislators of a sovereign nation trying to influence the due process in an totally different economic and political block might very well be construed as an insult and have the opposite effect of what they intend.

What's next, will we have the People's Assembly of China send a letter to the European Commission saying "You guys over-reacted on the whole toxic paint on child's toys thing" ???

Re:Oposite result (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226460)

What's next, will we have the People's Assembly of China send a letter to the European Commission saying "You guys over-reacted on the whole toxic paint on child's toys thing" ???

I'm not sure if it's intentional, but you've made a hell of a good point right there.

I strongly suspect that the manufacturing capacity of Europe is rather a lot smaller than the total EU-wide demand for consumer goods (eg. childs toys). It follows that if the EC were to receive such a letter, they couldn't very well respond by saying "Fine. We'll embargo all your products" for very long - they'd drive the prices for a lot of items up so high that the politicians in member states would have Hell to pay.

Re:Oposite result (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226726)

I strongly suspect that the manufacturing capacity of Europe is rather a lot smaller than the total EU-wide demand for consumer goods (eg. childs toys). It follows that if the EC were to receive such a letter, they couldn't very well respond by saying "Fine. We'll embargo all your products" for very long - they'd drive the prices for a lot of items up so high that the politicians in member states would have Hell to pay.

Ah, but remember that they can blame it on those horrible Chinese and dastardly unelected Commission so they look blameless. It's very useful for the national-level politicians to have someone else to take the unpopular decisions for them so they can focus on taking decisions that people will vote for...

Re:Oposite result (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226810)

The problem might be that they've so grown used to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown rolling over and playing dead on command, that they now assume the rest of the EU has no balls, either.

It's really hard to judge this one ... (2, Insightful)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226078)

Because there are tons of vested interests. SAP is based in the EU, so there's the possibility they're lobbying the EC on this one. One assumes that Oracle / Sun are lobbying US senators (and politicians in the EU for that matter?). The EU, as the article points out, works under different rules and with a different viewpoint - Oracle and Sun agreed to be bound by local laws when they entered the European markets. The EU probably has a political interest in seeming to stand up to the US, though you'd hope the regulators wouldn't be swayed into unprofessional behaviour by that. The US has an interest in avoiding a precedent where the EU has power over one of their companies. Sun and Oracle are probably trying to dodge awkward questions and hope for the EU to cave. Really, there's no reason to believe 100% that anyone is acting entirely in good faith here, especially given we don't have access to all the information.

We're seeing an interesting consequence of the increasingly interconnected world, though, in that we're reaping business advantages from setting up shop in multiple large markets but in turn companies are then subject to multiple jurisdictions regardless of their country of origin. It seems like the EU and US regulators working together on a decision might be more appropriate, given neither of them has absolute authority to give the go ahead. A co-operative solution to regulation decisions would make a certain amount of sense since it's de facto what we have now. It's surely in nobody's interests for the decision to be left hanging.

Re:It's really hard to judge this one ... (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226690)

There's also at least in my opinion, a certain amount of over-estimation of MySQL because it was originally an European product.

Only the most die hard MySQL fanatics ever really believed that Oracle and MySQL were ever really going to be competitors. Any market share that MySQL ever has or ever will take away from Oracle is market share where Oracle was vastly inappropriate anyway. You'd be an idiot to run your web server on a LAOP box, and you'd be an idiot to stick your billion record banking system into MySQL. MySQL still doesn't really scale up all that well and Oracle has never scaled down particularly well. From a competition point of view I'd be much more concerned about Microsoft buying MySQL since SQL Server seems to be playing in more of a middle space at the moment and is much more likely to see both products as a threat.

It's all really rather silly, since if MySQL can survive not being bought by Oracle it can certainly survive being bought by them since the only real question is whether it can survive on just community input and without major corporate investment.

Personally I'm not entirely sure if it was a good idea for Sun to buy MySQL in the first place. I know why they did, they were trying to achieve a world where you ran Solaris on SPARC(or at least Sun made Intel Boxes), running software written in Java in Sun containers. Essentially a vertical monopoly with enterprise support contracts which would be any vendors wet dream. I honestly think that aside from hoping they'd get some free development out of it, the main reason they open sourced it all was because if they'd tried to do the same thing as a closed source company they'd have been sued for anti-trust violations. Tragically for them, the move caused them to hemorrhage money when they'd already fallen behind Linux in adoption and they just couldn't turn it around fast enough. If someone doesn't buy them and infuse them with some cash, they'll bleed to death within a year or so, and since absolutely everything is open sourced including the hardware, they don't even have all that much in the way of IP to sell off. It's highly unlikely you'd see a bid for them from anyone who wouldn't be as much a problem for the EU as Oracle. HP, IBM, and Oracle are pretty much the only major candidates for the whole company. You might see a couple of other folks like AMD, Intel, or even Microsoft try to snatch up individual technologies if they came up for individual sale, but they're not a profitable company and they don't have any massively successful product lines aside from Java which they don't really own anymore.

Not all that rare... (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226346)

But yes, this is a another situation where I'd like our senators to SHUT UP.

If the EU wants to delay a decent company being swallowed by one that pisses me off daily, that's FINE.

Yes, I know it only delays the inevitable. But Sun becomes worth less to Oracle every day this gets delayed. AND I'M OK WITH THAT.

If I were Sun-Oracle (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30226366)

I would tell the EU to pound sand. If they want to put the kabash on this, I would tell the EU that I will close every EU based office and stop selling my products to the EU
or
they can let the deal go through.

Take your pick. My bet would be that within 90 days EU businesses would be putting their own pressure on the EU to allow them to continue to purchase Sun/Oracle products.

What the hell does a government think they are doing controlling a PUBLIC company? You want our products? Buy them. You don't want us to participate with your businesses? See ya.
This is the difference between the capitalist based US and the liberal/communist mentality of the EU. The fact that the current US administration isn't backing the senators trying to tell the EU to let this deal goes through only underscores the liberal/communist direction of this administration. They think the government should be able to tell a business how they should do business. This may be true to a point (you have to make safe products that don't kill people) but they should not be able to to prevent two companies merging because of a freeware software package. MYSQL is OSS. What more do they want?

Re:If I were Sun-Oracle (1)

DJProtoss (589443) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226912)

What the hell does a government think they are doing controlling a PUBLIC company? You want our products? Buy them. You don't want us to participate with your businesses? See ya.

As has been said above (and will probably be said below in various forms) - it cuts both ways. To rephrase that in line with your (mildly inflammatory) tone:

You want to sell in our country? Obey our laws. You don't want to obey our laws? See ya.

Unfortunately, it is awkward since its fairly hard to be a seriously large company these days without operating in both the states and in europe (q.f. the problems one company (I forget who) had when the Sarbanes-Oxley stuff came in, which contradicted French law, making it (at the time) technically impossible to continue).

Re:If I were Sun-Oracle (1)

Cassius105 (623098) | more than 3 years ago | (#30227100)

The shareholders of Oracle/Sun would lynch the executives for pulling out of the biggest market place in the world massively damaging their own business. Shareholders don't tend to approve of actions that will destroy the companies profits overnight

I can just imagine how the US Senate would feel (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226404)

if the Euro Parliament sent a missive saying "get off the pot and approve this business deal."

"asking it to"? (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226446)

That's interesting... I wonder how the US would comply should a couple EU politicians send a letter "asking it to" wrap something up in its favour.

EU ruined my life... (1)

happy_place (632005) | more than 3 years ago | (#30226840)

The EU is the reason I never bothered to code an SQL server or found a multinational hardware company from scratch. Mine would've been the coolest too, were it not for the EU. Stupid EU! Ruined my life....

Give Schwartz and McNealy money for killing Sun! (1)

theendlessnow (516149) | more than 3 years ago | (#30227092)

Oracle aside, approving this deal means giving McNealy and Schwartz a huge cash bonus for taking a company with no debt and large amounts of cash on hand and destroying it. Something just stinks about the whole prospect IMHO. Also, if this deal DOES go through, I look for it to be the root cause of the future death of Oracle.

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