Oracle moves closer to Sun Microsystems acquisition with proposals for MySQL submitted, but its founder asks people to block the purchase

News by Dan Raywood

The takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle is looking more likely after the European Commission confirmed that proposals for the acquisition of MySQL had been submitted.

The takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle is moving forward after the European Commission confirmed it had submitted its proposals for the acquisition of MySQL.

The EC set a date for the MySQL acquisition proposals, which Oracle has met after it promised to keep the market open for others to make storage engine software for the MySQL database. According to Reuters, it said that it would be more open than MySQL's previous owners, and would not ask for commercial licenses from makers of MySQL storage engines for application programming interfaces.

Oracle also said it would invest more in MySQL research and development over the next three years than Sun has, and said it would set up a separate customer advisory board of MySQL users.

This could allow the acquisition of Sun Microsystems to be approved. The EC has until the 27th January 2010 to clear or block the deal.

An EC statement said: “Today's announcement by Oracle of a series of undertakings to customers, developers and users of MySQL is an important new element to be taken into account in the ongoing proceedings.

“In particular, Oracle's binding contractual undertakings to storage engine vendors regarding copyright non-assertion and the extension over a period of up to five years of the terms and conditions of existing commercial licences are significant new facts.”

However the founder of MySQL, Michael Widenius, said that the EC must block the $7 billion deal as a way to protect the company's future and urged people to contact their representatives to help block Oracle's purchase, saying that it is imperative for the future of competition - and for MySQL itself.

He said: “Oracle claims that it would take good care of MySQL but let's face the facts: Unlike ten years ago, when MySQL was mostly just used for the web, it has become very functional, scalable and credible. Now it's used in many of the world's largest companies and they use it for an increasing number of purposes.

“This not only scares but actually hurts Oracle every day. Oracle has to lower prices all the time to compete with MySQL when companies start new projects. Some companies even migrate existing projects from Oracle to MySQL to save money. Of course Oracle has a lot more features, but MySQL can already do a lot of things for which Oracle is often used and helps people save a lot of money. Over time MySQL can do to Oracle what the originally belittled Linux did to commercial Unix (roughly speaking).

“So I just don't buy it that Oracle will be a good home for MySQL. A weak MySQL is worth about one billion dollars per year to Oracle, maybe more. A strong MySQL could never generate enough income for Oracle that they would want to cannibalise their real cash cow. I don't think any company has ever done anything like that. That's why the EC is sceptic and formalised its objections about a month ago.”


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