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US Gov't Lobbied EU To Approve Oracle-Sun Merger

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the how-could-george-bush-do-such-a-thing dept.

Java 169

littlekorea writes "Cables leaked by Wikileaks have revealed that the U.S. Government actively pressured the EU Competition Commissioner to approve Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems. The cable reveals that the U.S. went to great lengths to discover how the competition commissioner felt about the 'pro-competitive' nature of open source software and whether this would represent a threat to the US$7.4 billion deal."

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It's only right! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251158)

Why should the EU decide this on their own? It's better that the Worlds Remaining Superpower (tm) be there to ensure they make the right decision. And it's Oracle. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:It's only right! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251218)

US Government has also decided that MS Windows monopoly is good (for US). It does not matter if technical development is halted by the monopoly as long as it brings taxes to US.
And US was the "market economy" which has grown from competitive freedom of markets. Well, if you control whole world, why bother to care about free markets and competition.

thats why 40% still use xp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251632)

and its working LOL thats why 40% still use xp....

Re:It's only right! (3, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251230)

It is when the US Gov forces Genetically Modified food down everyone's throat [truth-out.org] , often in the face of overwhelming democratic opposition to them - even in some cases the political elite objecting (See this India cable [cablegatesearch.net] : "Very serious fears [...] of Monsanto controlling our food chain"), that things start to get really questionable.

Re:It's only right! (3, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251232)

"The Worlds Remaining Superpower" is now an oxymoron. The US may have a lot of military personnel but it's a very sick country on the verge of collapse.

Re:It's only right! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251312)

Totally agree. I am tired of having to walk across the village every day to get water. Worst of all we can barely invade, destroy, and control two third world countries on the other side of the globe any more Sad really to see a great country on the edge of ruin. Back in the day we used to be able to just impose our will on the rest of the world, but now those brown skinned cretins want to exercise their own free will, The ungrateful vermin.

Re:It's only right! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251320)

I agree. God save the Queen!

Re:It's only right! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251474)

It is possible to lose superpower status without instantly becoming a third world nation.

Re:It's only right! (4, Insightful)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252270)

But on the other hand, they are working hard on the latter. With this difference that Somali communication infrastructure will still be better.

The difference between a first and a third world nation is not the average income, that changes quickly. It is the infrastructure: road, rail sanitation, power, communication. But also the bureaucracy and the education of the population.

People who want no/small government are exactly asking for third world infrastructure.

Re:It's only right! (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252378)

It is possible to lose superpower status without instantly becoming a third world nation.

Maybe, maybe not.

I expect we'll be finding out shortly...

Re:It's only right! (1)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252452)

It is possible to lose superpower status without instantly becoming a third world nation.

Just look at Britain.

Re:It's only right! (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252672)

You shouldn't just judge a country by it's lack of hygiene.

;)

Re:It's only right! (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251468)

"The Worlds Remaining Superpower" is now an oxymoron. The US may have a lot of military personnel but it's a very sick country on the verge of collapse.

Are you sure he wasn't talking about China?

Rome (3, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251614)

What America needs now is an old dude to assume the role of high church office so that America can officially become a religious state. They can then live off the proceeds offered by the superstitious tourists.

I mean when you have a great Empire that implodes on itself after having succumbed to military spending insanity, what's left to do when everything goes to shit?

Re:It's only right! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251616)

Maybe so. But we're big enough to drag the rest of the world down with us!
Or use our massive military to just take what we want. Or need.

Say.... i think you might have some W.M.D's. And oil. You need some freedom too. Don't worry. We'll save you!

Re:It's only right! (3, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252108)

While there is always a segment of the American population who believes 'that the end is right around the corner', if only for religious beliefs, it always seems that there are many more of them after a economic crisis. We're Americans, we always get though it, yet, even after 8 strait quarters of admittedly weak GDP growth, but growth none the less, many are still beating the drums of crisis.

Maybe for you the American dream is over, but for most of us it's chugging along.

Re:It's only right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37252620)

While there is always a segment of the American population who believes 'that the end is right around the corner', if only for religious beliefs, it always seems that there are many more of them after a economic crisis. We're Americans, we always get though it, yet, even after 8 strait quarters of admittedly weak GDP growth, but growth none the less, many are still beating the drums of crisis.

Maybe for you the American dream is over, but for most of us it's chugging along.

I love US grammar and spelling, don't you? It somewhat sets the tone for the view on Americans in general.

Let us put it this way, with a debt load of I believe 85% of your GDP it's only a matter of time. The US will default especially with given the political climate you are in now. No compromise, no new taxes, etc. Where do you think you will get the money to pay off the debt based off your GDP?

Face it, Gilligan and Cheney drove the US into the ground with the over spending. Now the recession they created only makes it work because the more you spend to get out of it the more you put yourselves in the hole. It sucks as nobody wants to see it happen but you can only go on for so long.

Re:It's only right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37252194)

"The Worlds Remaining Superpower" is now an oxymoron. The US may have a lot of military personnel but it's a very sick country on the verge of collapse.

oxymoron? I dont believe that word means what you think it means... Are you implying that superpowers cannot be remaining in the world ?

Re:It's only right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37252290)

No it's not. It's on the verge of KICKING YOUR ASS!

Re:It's only right! (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251252)

Why shouldn't the US Government have an interest in a third parties decision affecting two large US companies? I don't get the issue here, to me the "outrage" that this story puts forward seems forced and misused.

Re:It's only right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251590)

Why shouldn't the US Government have an interest in a third parties decision affecting two large US companies? I don't get the issue here, to me the "outrage" that this story puts forward seems forced and misused.

Duh - which country do your opinions represent, and ,does it have many remaining allies? Are you sure about that?

Re:It's only right! (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251634)

Why shouldn't the US Government have an interest in a third parties decision affecting two large US companies?

The problem is not that the US Government has an interest. The problem is they are encouraging the wrong side of the argument.

The fact that anti-trust laws are being ignored at this level is the best example that our government has been completely co-opted by corporate interests. We are no longer a country for the people. Now we are a country for the corporations.

Re:It's only right! (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251914)

What anti-trust laws were ignored at that level?

Sun and Oracle had largely non-overlapping markets. Its one of the very few huge tech mergers in memory that had almost no anti-trust issues.

Re:It's only right! (3, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252118)

Nonsense. This is an utter falsehood. Sun and Oracle's markets were by no stretch of the imagination "non overlapping".

You had the problems of excessive vertical integration as well as one direct rival swallowing another. This deal undermined the level of useful diversity in both the enterprise operating systems and RDBMS space. It also impacted a large number of other software projects and led to patent issues. It directly led to collateral damage in a seemingly unrelated market with patent litigation over Java.

The Sun-Oracle deal was nothing but anti-trust issues.

Re:It's only right! (4, Informative)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252410)

Yes, because Oracle DB is completely different from MySQL, Oracle Linux is completely different from Solaris, and they have no competition between them whatsoever. Yup.

Re:It's only right! (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252594)

We are no longer a country for the people. Now we are a country for the corporations.

Oblig: but corporations ARE people! The supreme court said so.

Re:It's only right! (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251640)

..Two international companies with headquarters in the USA, and offices all over the world ...

The third party (EU) is where a lot of their sales are.

The world does not revolve around the USA ...

It's not that serious, really (4, Insightful)

F69631 (2421974) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251254)

Lobbying isn't that bad. USA officials had arrived to one conclusion, felt that the issue was very important to them and communicated that to EU officials. Regular co-operative communication between officials of two political bodies. If EU officials then arrived to a result which (considering all things, including any political capital gained or lost) was bad for us as EU citizens, then our own officials are to blame. Personally, I don't think that they did and there is nothing in TFA that implies otherwise.

In other words, the cables show that EU and USA officials of corresponding organizations actually communicate with each other when handling international issues. Nothing to see here.

Re:It's not that serious, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251426)

Thank you.

Re:It's not that serious, really (4, Insightful)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251876)

I agree - except that it should not have come out via Wikileaks. The US is entitled to lobby on behalf of two large US corporations which have decided to merge. But is should do so in the open - as should all lobbyists.

Re:It's not that serious, really (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252256)

The problem is that it's a conflict of interest for the US to both regulate and advocate for a corporation.

Re:It's only right! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251288)

It's better that the Worlds Remaining Superpower (tm) be there to ensure they make the right decision.

I don't think it's reasonable to expect China to handle everything.

Oh the scandal! (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251318)

A country debates with another country to preserve it's interests.
Has Wikileaks released anything really informative?

Here are their big leaks.
1. The military during war isn't always the most upstanding group of people and wrong people get killed, and the government doesn't like to tell you that. Duh ask any veteran they will tell you the same thing.

2. Diplomats and leaders are a bunch of selfish pompous hypocritical jerks. They are still human. And they are humans with extra power, so yea. If you didn't know that you must live in a land with unicorns and flowers.

All Wikipedia is an anti-cheerleader for the US and it's allies. Digging up all the dirt and none of the good stuf, granted countries usually keep the good stuff public, but the population doesn't always get it.

Re:Oh the scandal! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251460)

I agree WikiLeaks is really just out to screw with the US - that's obvious. However, it doesn't mean that what they point out is necessarily wrong, and having specific incidents to cite in news articles, letters to congressmen, and the court of public opinion, in general, lends credibility to our anger at the aforementioned notions.

In other words: yeah, they're out to screw with the US, but we may as well use their data, ill-intended though it is, as a catalyst for positive change.

Re:Oh the scandal! (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251856)

I think Wikileaks would be out to screw China too if they laid their hands on as many classified documents. Of course China would probably take the Russian approach to such disclosures and murder some people to make a point.

Re:Oh the scandal! (2)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252076)

It isn't so much what Wikileaks has to say, but the fact that Wikileaks has to be the one that says it.

Re:Oh the scandal! (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251488)

If you didn't know that you must live in a land with unicorns and flowers.

Care to share the GPS coordinates of that land? I'm looking for a nice place for my vacation and my kids love Harry Potter.

Re:Oh the scandal! (1)

Plugh (27537) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251620)

Care to share the GPS coordinates of that land?

42 56 01N
72 16 41W

Re:Oh the scandal! (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251696)

Thanks. Are you pointing to Central Square? Or are the unicorns living in the Cash Force building?

Re:Oh the scandal! (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251744)

He forgot the dimension part... It's at those coords, but about 32 dimensions sideways as well.

Re:Oh the scandal! (1)

morgaen (1896818) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251894)

Care to share the GPS coordinates of that land?

I'd imagine here: +40.689060i, -74.044636i

Re:Oh the scandal! (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251928)

There are two lots of Wikileaks: the Bradley Manning (allegedly) leaks, and a lot of other stuff from other sources which they leaked before Bradley Manning (allegedly). The earlier stuff seemed to me entirely deserving of being leaked: helicopters apparently shooting down news crews and civilians etc. There was a possibility of real crime being revealed. But then we come to the BM leaks. All they showed was that, as you say, diplomacy is a distinctly grimier business than it pretends to be. Ambassadors say one thing to their hosts and a different thing to the state department. Governments lobby for their come companies. Favours are done for unsavoury characters. But we suspected this. The BM leaks have not pointed to any seriois crimes, and have put a big spanner in the works of everyday diplomacy. I think Assange lost his head with the "treasure trove" from BM (allegedly) and lost sight of the original purpose of Wikileaks - whistleblowing - in an orgy of scandalmongering.

Re:Oh the scandal! (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252368)

Actually, I would argue that the cables are very much in favour of the US. Indeed, when your foreign office is the one making the news and your memos presented as analyses, then really, you are spreading your viewpoint about the world.

Of course, most people don't know what it is diplomats do. They probably assume their job is to go to dinners and eat. But that is really only the surface :)

As for the before/after thing it is mostly a change of tactic: the videos had very little impact, despite being some of the most informative documents about the way modern war happens. Having information is actually worthless if you cannot disseminate it: so they did this big thing out of the cables.

Re:It's only right! (2)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251424)

Yeah, because putting pressure on Neelie Smit-Kroes proved sooo usefull in the Microsoft anti-trust case e.g.

Due to internal politics in the EU she's no longer Competition Commissioner, but believe me, pressurizing her does not work well.

She has really done a wealth of good for competition and the free market in Europe and has dealt with the largest and meanest corporations and governments without budging one inch.

Re:It's only right! (1)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252734)

Which is surprising, as Mrs. Smit-Kroes is surrounded with a lot of suspicion of being on the take and inappropriate lobbying.

Her record on housing and construction is particularly shaky, given that most of her decisions seem to favour her friends in the real-estate industry.

Mart

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251160)

first

Governments (1)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251170)

By the people, for the people!

Re:Governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251222)

I think you mean:

By some people, for some other people.

Re:Governments (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251386)

I think you mean:

By some people, for themselves and their buddies.

The weird thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251184)

Weren't Oracle and Sun both U.S. companies? Why does the E.U. get a say whether one buys the other?

Re:The weird thing. (1)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251198)

Oracle and Sun are both internationals.

Whats this got to do with the Europans? (0)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252054)

Mars orbits the Sun too. Do the Martians get a say?

Re:The weird thing. (1)

Plammox (717738) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251200)

This probably relates to the Oracle/Sun subsidiaries within the EU.

Re:The weird thing. (4, Informative)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251364)

Because they wish to do business in the EU, you know, the biggest economy in the world.

Europe's opinion matters because not being able to do business in such a large economy would make it pointless to procede with the takeover anyway as they'd have been better off not taking over Sun and keeping their EU business than taking over Sun and being ineligible to do business in the EU.

It's worth pointing out it's a two way street too. BAE, a British defence firm, bribed Saudi officials to get an aircraft deal, but despite them being a British company and the deal being with Saudi Arabia and hence having nothing to do with the US, the US still fined the company and BAE accepted and paid the fine because it'd rather continue to be able to do business in the US, with by far the largest military expenditure in the world, than not pay the fine and not be able to do business in the US.

This is the thing with an increasingly globalised world, companies are responsible for their actions wherever they do business, not just where they were founded or are headquartered- if you want to take European money, you need to play by European rules.

I was told that this leak would get people killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251186)

I think the astroturfers feigning concern about human beings with regard to these leaks are more concerned that their corporate puppeteers might look bad.

Good one by the US Govt. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251224)

Good one by the US Govt.

A good day ends with some good porn. Go to http://www.wuploaded.org to get some free XXX

what would happen if they said no? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251240)

what would happen if they said no? At a guess the EU subsidiaries of each company could not merge but the US ones could. In practice this would mean that the EU subsidiaries would probably have to separate from the combined company, probably with rights to patents and copyright for their previous products in the EU. This would be a mess for everyone, the EU left with subsidiaries with rights that have no future development, and the USA base having rights outside the EU, being able to develop, but losing EU revenues.

Re:what would happen if they said no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251334)

In practice this means that the deal would have been reverted and the companies would follow with their lives separately. No money exchange hands before being the deal is cleared by regulators.

There's a few historical examples, Google them.

Re:what would happen if they said no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251576)

Google them

Is that a double entendre?

Re:what would happen if they said no? (1)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251582)

I don't think it would change much which is why it is dumb for the EU to try and regulate it. OK, so they can't merge in the EU, but they are both American based companies, so if they are merged in the US, then both EU companies can just send profits back to the unified US company.

Re:what would happen if they said no? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251726)

I don't think it would change much which is why it is dumb for the EU to try and regulate it. OK, so they can't merge in the EU, but they are both American based companies, so if they are merged in the US, then both EU companies can just send profits back to the unified US company.

I am certain that it is against company law to "just send" money somewhere. They will have to protect their shareholder's investments.

Re:what would happen if they said no? (1)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251832)

Err, no? I'm fairly certain that companies with international subsidiaries send the profit back to wherever the company is actually headquartered.

Re:what would happen if they said no? (1)

jellie (949898) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251908)

No, all international profits are usually kept off-shore because repatriation of those profits would be taxed at usual rates. Trying to bring the money back to the US without paying taxes would be massive tax fraud (at least compared to the tax fraud that these companies normally do). Thus, companies actively advocate for "repatriation holidays [nytimes.com] ," which are nothing more than corporate tax breaks.

Re:what would happen if they said no? (1)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252008)

So for all intents and purposes an international subsidiary is a separate company entirely? What is the relationship of a huge MNC and all the subsidiaries?

Re:what would happen if they said no? (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252022)

It's common not to "repatriate" (I'm not sure if this is the right word in English) profits. Often the money is held by a subsidiary on a tax friendly country. It can't be used to pay dividends to shareholders but is often kept as a "cushion" for hard times or for paying international acquisitions and investments. Microsoft itself, at least a while back, held a large sum of money outside the US, through a Caribbean subsidiary if I recall correctly. I think there was an article here on /. about it, but I'm not sure.

Woah (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251260)

This certainly is an improvement on the free market paradigm most large companies try to shove down your throat.

Not only does the government stay out of your way, it gets other governments to support you.

The land of the free...

I'm reminded of some dialog in Con Air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251292)

I'm reminded of some dialog in Con Air:

Big Bad: "What exactly are we discussing here?"
The Dragon: "Hillbilly here don't want me to off the pigs"
Big Bad: "Nathan's [dragon] feelings about the police are understandable, and my own proclivities are well known. I'm interested in why you have an opinion at all?"

I'm curious about what national interest was served by continuing the merger or discouraging it's continued seperation?

Re:I'm reminded of some dialog in Con Air (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251360)

Some huge government spy databases probably run on Oracle and so Oracle got them to believe acquiring Sun was a matter of national security.

/. evacuated to avoid potential mind fauxking (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251372)

better safe than psycho, what with even more propagandic military sci-fi stories already being composed by well paid 'anonymous' contributors.

disarm. tell the truth. help make woeful wednesday a day to remember.

Separation of state & economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251398)

There ought to be one. For the same reason as separation of state & church.

Infuriating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251434)

As an American citizen, and not a corporation (because corporations are citizens, according to the Supreme Court), or somebody earning the top 2% of income in this country, I have to say that this is god-damned infuriating. Anyone with half a brain knows that merger never should have happened, and that my government would so blatantly support the merger as to lobby another sovereign collection of nations (not even a single nation) to do the same is the absolute antithesis of what REAL free-market capitalism is all about:

Competition.

What we have in modern day America is not free market capitalism. It's an abomination where the corporate sphere of influence literally owns governmental initiatives, and our government has either sold their testicles, or never had them to begin with, and therefore lacks the courage to stand up and do anything about it.

I fear for the future.

Re:Infuriating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251636)

What is the "competitive" angle on stopping the merger? MySQL? Given that it is free and forkable, and there are other commercial alternatives, and other open alternatives, how much do you think this merger reduced competition? A big chunk of Oracle's business (and lots of lock-in) is all the services layer on top of the database, and Sun added none of that.

Re:Infuriating (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252024)

Given that it is free and forkable

Mysql put their client libraries under the GPL. By common intepretations of the GPL if you link against a GPL library you have to release your program under the GPL. So if you want to develop propietry apps linked againstthe mysql client you had to buy a commerical license for mysql. IIRC at one stage they were even trying to claim that the GPL applied to the wire protocol (so even if you rewrote the client libs you weren't in the clear according to them) dunno if they still are. So yes you can fork it but not all users can use your fork.

Though personally I don't think mysql was a reason to stop the merger. There are plenty of other opensource databases under freer licenses than mysql and it's not like mysql and oracle were ever really in much competition being at opposite ends of the market.

Re:Infuriating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37252618)

.

There are plenty of other opensource databases under freer licenses than mysql

...like postgres, which has the added advantage of not being a sack of shite.

Good (-1, Flamebait)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251444)

It was ridiculous that the EU should even have a say over two american companies. Yes, they do business in the EU but they are American companies. What is the EU going to do if they merge in the US, prevent the new merged company from doing any business in the EU? It is one thing to obey the laws of a country you do business in, but another have to company decisions be influenced by the whims of a country separate from where your company is headquartered and based. Silly EU. They should go back to protecting users from the monopoly that is Internet Explorer.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251486)

"What is the EU going to do if they merge in the US, prevent the new merged company from doing any business in the EU?"

DOH! Yes; Precisely that.

Isolationism does not just mean saying 'Fuck You' to your neighbors; It also means they shrug and say 'Fuck You Too' right back.

Re:Good (1)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251694)

Except it isn't that simple. Likely that Sun and Oracle would be separate entities in the EU, but both would be controlled by the single merged entity in the US collecting funds from its EU subsidiaries.

The companies are based in the US, so the EU ultimately does not have that much say.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251498)

What is the EU going to do if they merge in the US, prevent the new merged company from doing any business in the EU?

Damn right! That's the EU's decision on how companies can do business on their soil. I sure as hell wouldn't accept an EU company dictating to the United States how they're going to do things, and the EU shouldn't either.

It is one thing to obey the laws of a country you do business in, but another have to company decisions be influenced by the whims of a country separate from where your company is headquartered and based.

That might make sense if Oracle wasn't an international company, but they are. It was up to Oracle whether or not to buy Sun, and if the EU wanted to deny that, well I've got two words for Oracle: Tough Shit.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251518)

Yes, that is exactly the threat that is implicitly being made - that of blocking the merged company from being able to do business within the EU.

To do so would be purely an internal EU matter. It would not violate any company's ability to do whatever they like in the US.

US companies would be insane to ignore it, because the EU is a larger market than the US.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252066)

Well, Oracle is of course allowed to stop doing business in the EU if they do not like the rules there.

It might make some people (like you) and even some of their shareholders happy. But allow me to show you some numbers.

Oracle's fiscal 2011 income [oracle.com] :
Total income: 35,622 million dollars
Americas (North and South): 18,352 million dollars
Europe, Middle East & Africa: 11,497 million dollars

Realistically most of the EMEA income is from the EU, just like most of the Americas income is from the US.

What you're suggesting is that they dump 32% of their revenue from day to day.

Some of that will be offset by laying off 22,394 employees in the EMEA, but that only makes up 20% of their total number of employees. Compare that to the 45,887 employees in the Americas.

The EMEA is a more profitable area for Oracle than the Americas from a pure income/employee point of view (514,000 vs 400,000 dollars)

But if we ignore the financial consequences, the competitive consequences of giving your main rivals 11 billion dollars a year and the sheer idiocy of believing that you shouldn't have to live up to the rules of the countries you operate in, then yeah - you have a really good idea there.

Go for it - I'm sure you'll have a lot of success at Oracle's next shareholders meeting.

Re:Good (1)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252200)

I'm not suggesting that at all. I'm suggesting that if Oracle and Sun merged in the US and elsewhere in the world, I don't see how the EU can prevent it. Oracle and Sun can be separate entities within the EU, and merged within the US. If not, why not?

Re:Good (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252396)

It's not as simple as that. Most of the development for eg MySQL is done in Europe, and the resulting product is sold all over the world. The reverse is true for some of their other products. Development costs would be the same if they lost the European market. Since some of the products are owned by European subsidiaries they have bought over the years, they might end up losing them completely. They provide 24/7 access to tech support by having offices in different time zones, so if someone wants help in doing an out of hours job on their system, they will most likely be speaking to someone in a different country.

Lots of money, lots of pressure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251522)

I don't know why this is new to some people. Big money has ways to nudge people in the right direction. In any case I don't think that this was the "straw that broke the camel's back".

Some people read this sort of headline and think it's all down to the decision of one person or that somehow the US dictates what the EU does. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that sometimes, some countries that have negotiating leverage actually use it. So what is the article trying to inform us about?

At the end of the day is this even worthy of an article? most of these so called leaks are worthless. You can guess as much by common sense. The only thing the leak actually gives us is a confirmation that the typical behind the scenes action we often assume is taking place is actually occurring.

"Pressured" is a strong word... (3, Informative)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251552)

This sort of thing is exactly what diplomats do. They lobby other countries to take actions perceived as favorable for their own country. There is no evidence here of threats, extortion, or arm twisting. Just diplomacy.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:"Pressured" is a strong word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251678)

I'm a citizen of the United States. Maybe I don't want my government taking this view, as I see it as hurtful to our society.

Re:"Pressured" is a strong word... (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251818)

Then vote for the other party next time; watch them run in terror as you elect their identical twin

Re:"Pressured" is a strong word... (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252394)

Then vote for the other party next time; watch them run in terror as you elect their identical twin

That hurt...

More Corporate Welfare. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251698)

This sort of thing is exactly what diplomats do. They lobby other countries to take actions perceived as favorable for their own country. There is no evidence here of threats, extortion, or arm twisting. Just diplomacy.

Nothing to see here, move along.

We're not talking about a country here: this is a corporation. A very large corporation.

WTF is our Federal Government doing acting as a advocate for a corporation? Can't Oracle handle this on their own? They can't spend then money on EU lawyers and lobbyists and sway the Competition Commissioner?

Here I am broke as fucking hell and our Federal Government is acting like an errand boy for a very large corporation controlled by a billionaire at the taxpayer's expense.

Taxpayer's expense

See that Tea Party People!

Re:More Corporate Welfare. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252020)

The government acts precisely because it thinks a favourable outcome will make more money. Lobbying and bribery are not the same thing, despite the perception to the contrary. If all they needed to do was bribe someone the rich, and large corporations would never need the government. Diplomacy is trying to convince the other guy this is in his interest, and maybe throwing in some incentive to sweeten the deal (possibilities: you allow this 7 billion merger we'll allow on from your side without fuss, you allow this merger and we'll make sure you have less job losses than if you don't etc...), it can also be a negotiation, we'll only allow this if both areas agree to some particular new set of rules.

A company cannot guarantee what a government will do, but ultimately the people, through, governments are the ones who pick up the pieces when companies fail so they have a vested interest in coordinating their efforts to minimize the risk of failure and maximize both short, and long term growth opportunities.

Bad choice of words. (2)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251712)

Lobbying is a type of corruption. It can be legal in USA, but is a type of corruption that is not legal everywhere.

Re:Bad choice of words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251868)

Lobbying *can* be corruption, not all of it *is* corruption.

Constituents writing their representatives is lobbying, and not all of those letters/emails/etc are the result of astroturfing or some other malign campaign.

Moreover, there are even nuanced cases - businesses occasionally lobby for regulatory changes that aren't about letting them externalize costs or hamstring competitors, but are just about clarifying what they're supposed to do or simplifying the means by which they do it in order to improve efficiency.

Yes, some other governments have laws that capture more (or less) of this nuance, and yes, some of those laws might characterize the activity in the TFA as illegal - but that's not a license to misrepresent the concept of lobbying according to your personal distaste for what you perceive happens in the USA.

Re:Bad choice of words. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251986)

One dollar, one vote. These with more money have more votes. USA calls it democracy.

Re:Bad choice of words. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252004)

Lobbying is NOT a type of corruption. When grandma writes a letter to her local politician complaining about this or that, she is lobbying. When a politician sells his ear at a $5k per head dinner, that is (legalised) corruption.

Re:"Pressured" is a strong word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251882)

And the favorable part of Oracle buying Sun is....?

Re:"Pressured" is a strong word... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252150)

I think it's more fair to consider Oracle buying Sun vs someone else buying Sun, or even vs letting Sun get picked clean in a Chapter 7 liquidation.

Re:"Pressured" is a strong word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251926)

This sort of thing is exactly what diplomats do. They lobby other countries to take actions perceived as favorable for their own country. There is no evidence here of threats, extortion, or arm twisting. Just diplomacy.

Nothing to see here, move along.

The threats, extortion and arm twisting came when they robbed me of my tax dollars to then lobby foreign countries to the benefit of a corporation.. Sure.. that's diplomacy.. or more forced corporate welfare.. and a bribe..

Just because it's normal, don't make it right..

Re:"Pressured" is a strong word... (1)

godless dave (844089) | more than 3 years ago | (#37252164)

"This sort of thing is exactly what diplomats do. They lobby other countries to take actions perceived as favorable for their own country" Oracle and Sun aren't the United States. Diplomats are supposed to lobby for our country's interest, not the interests of whatever companies made the biggest campaign contributions to politicians. If there's nothing to see here, why was this kept secret instead of done in the open?

US (1)

damicatz (711271) | more than 3 years ago | (#37251642)

The US government has long been a tool designed to serve the needs of large corporations. This does nothing to change that.

We the people lost our country when the US government, along with Britian, decided to invade Iran and depose the lawfully elected leader of that country (Mohammad Mosaddegh) so that BP could come in and pillage their oil fields.

shame that Apple hadn't bought Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251670)

personally, I wish Apple had bought Sun. Sun had a reputation for somewhat overpriced but high quality hardware, with nothing in the consumer space at all. Apple's server hardware sucked. Sun's OS is an antique whereas OSX is up to date.

So they would have been a good fit, and at least Apple might have nurtured OpenOffice and MySQL, and as not quite as greedy and evil as Oracle.

The "George Bush" Comment is Disingenuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37251704)

Read the article. It says it was the Obama administration.

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