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12/4/2009
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Oracle Denies Change In Stance On MySQL

The database giant denies that it offered to create a separate entity for MySQL once the Sun acquisition is completed.

Oracle has denied that it told the European Commission it would be willing to create a separate entity for MySQL, once Oracle becomes the owner of Sun Microsystems and the open source database system.

The New York Post reported Friday that Oracle was willing to change its position on the MySQL part of its $7.4 billion Sun acquisition. Oracle quickly denied the Post's report in statements to the Wall Street Journal's online news service.

The Post story claimed that Oracle was willing to cordon off the open source database system used by eBay, Facebook, Slashdot, and others, from the enterprise database vendor. Oracle is now "willing to create a separate entity within a combined Oracle-Sun that houses MySQL's open database software business in order to get the deal completed" said the Post, claiming to quote from two sources familiar with the proposal.

The article said such a move would include "the creation of a firewall between MySQL and the rest of the combined company."

The dispute may get deeper before it gets resolved. The commission has scheduled a hearing on the issue on Dec. 10, in advance of Sun's annual shareholder meeting on Dec. 17.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has vowed to fight the commission's view that Oracle's ownership of MySQL would constitute a reduction in database competition.

An advisor to Commissioner Neelie Kroes on anti-competitive issues, Florian Mueller, said in an email message to InformationWeek Friday that a cordoning off would not satisfy EC objections to Oracle ownership. MySQL "needs an unfettered business [behind it] that really wants to succeed, grow and innovate in every way imaginable, not a toothless tiger in a cage."

On Nov. 24, fifty-nine U.S. Senators urged the commission to speed up its investigation and allow the deal to be completed, in light of potential job losses at Sun.

On Nov. 9, the U.S. Department of Justice reaffirmed its earlier finding that consumer harm was unlikely to result from the merger, due to the choices on open source databases remaining in the market. The Commission plans to conclude its secondary investigation by Jan. 27.

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