Global CIO: Can Oracle's Larry Ellison Keep MySQL From EU Whiners? - InformationWeek

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10/20/2009
11:22 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: Can Oracle's Larry Ellison Keep MySQL From EU Whiners?

Want to know the real cost of the drawn-out dithering of the EU and its fawning groupies? Sun has to lay off 3,000 employees because its acquisition by Oracle is still under review.

A handful of self-styled "advisors" and "strategists" to the European Union have begun pumping out press releases and communiques claiming there's a massive groundswell of support for the EU to compel Oracle to divest itself of MySQL as a condition of being allowed to acquire Sun.

While preposterous, these claims about the horrors that will ensue if Oracle is allowed to keep MySQL come at a terribly critical time as the EU continues to withhold an opinion on Oracle's acquisition of Sun. And that shameful foot-dragging on the part of the EU, along with the cowardly grandstanding of these EU groupies who speak so boldly only because they have absolutely nothing at stake, can now be assigned a very specific and ugly cost: Sun is laying off up to 3,000 employees as part of a restructuring it is being forced to undertake due to the delay in the closing of the Oracle deal.

Like gnats swarming about a lion, these European Union gadflies have begun buzzing electronically around Oracle in the hope of driving it mad with their relentless attempts to clog its nostrils, blur its vision, and burrow inside any available orifice to cause trouble. Here's a sampling:

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1) MySQL creator Michael Widenius believes the EU's antitrust regulator is "absolutely right to be concerned" and called on Oracle "to be constructive and commit to sell MySQL to a suitable third party, enabling an instant solution instead of letting Sun suffer much longer."

--You see, it's Oracle's fault that Sun is "suffering" and losing up to $100 million per month. And if Oracle would just "be constructive" and sell off a product it has paid for and wants, then all will be well, according to these statists.

2) Speaking of the head gadly who's circulating much of this piffle, Widenius revealed the intent of this outfit to badger, bother, and belabor Oracle until its Sun-related losses vastly exceed Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's desire to add MySQL to Oracle's fleet of database products. Widenius said of one particular "EU strategist" (I won't mention his name and give him any more cheap publicity), "In August he helped us to demonstrate to the EC the need to investigate this merger and he is now on board again to meet the information needs of regulators, journalists and analysts."

3) Here's a line from one of that EU strategist's press releases that shows that he not only fears competition but can also read minds: "Every day that passes without Oracle excluding MySQL from the deal is further evidence that Oracle just wants to get rid of its open source challenger and that the EU's investigation is needed to safeguard innovation and customer choice. This is highly critical because the entire knowledge-based economy is built on databases."

--Oh, so that's what this is all about: what looked like a cheap attempt to exploit Oracle is actually a selfless effort to save "the entire knowledge-based economy"—who wouldn't support such a heroic effort?

4) I know this is hard to take, but here's just one more to underscore the nonsense Oracle and Ellison have been putting up with: the gadfly "warned that letting Oracle have MySQL is worse than putting the fox in charge of the henhouse because the hens are no threat to the fox while MySQL makes Oracle lose customers and forces it to grant discounts to customers threatening to defect."

Very colorful, in its own simplistic way, but also very untrue. In the interest of fairness, let's now take a look at four examples of perspectives and opinion on the MySQL/Oracle pairing from outside the gadfly echo-chamber, first published in a Global CIO column I wrote six weeks ago under the headline, ""Global CIO: Oracle Nailed By EU Protectionism As HP, IBM Raid Sun Customers":

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