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Oracle-Sun: Statements and observationsMatthew Aslett, November 30, 2009 @ 10:36 am ET
I’ve been trying to dig a bit deeper into the European Commission’s investigation of Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems, to look beyond the received wisdom about the EC’s concerns about the deal.
We know they revolve around the open source MySQL database, the European Commission has said that much. But the Statement of Objections weighs in at 155 pages, and even those that have read it admit to being confused by it. Meanwhile some of the most vocal parties in the public debate have vested interests in encouraging opinions for or against the deal.
Without knowing precisely what the European Commission wants to achieve it is impossible to come to any conclusions about the investigation. However, here are a few statements and observations:
- Anyone who claims to completely understand the European Competition Commission’s concerns with regards to Oracle-Sun either works for the European Competition Commission or is lying.
- The EC is evidently concerned about the ongoing availability of the GPL-licensed MySQL code.
- However, there are also concerns about the contracts related to non-GPL licenses used to make the code available to software vendors for use with proprietary software.
- The public debate about the Oracle-Sun deal has focused disproportionately on the impact of the deal on forks of the open source MySQL code base.
- The impact of the proposed deal on competition is just as likely to revolve around the proprietary contracts.
- Statements from MontyWidenius/Florian Mueller objecting to the proposed merger and the European Commission’s Statement of Objections against the merger are *not* the same thing.
- The Widenius/Mueller case against Oracle owning Sun/MySQL is entirely dependent on the theory that Oracle will not invest in the ongoing development of MySQL, which is something it has publicly committed to doing.
- There are forces at work that are not immediately obvious. You can probably guess what they are though.
A formal report covering the latest twists and turns in the proposed acquisition is available to 451 Group clients.
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