API Journal Authors: Rich DeFabritus, Pat Romanski, Derek Weeks, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Recurring Revenue, Java IoT, Open Source Cloud, Government Cloud

Recurring Revenue: Article

US Senate Pushes EC on Oracle-Sun Merger

Oracle just asked for and got more time ostensibly to develop its arguments

Mergers & Acquisitions on Ulitzer

The United States Senate waded into the Oracle-Sun imbroglio Tuesday.

Fifty-nine senators from both sides of the aisle led by one-time presidential hopeful John Kerry (D-Mass) and perennial presidential pretender Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) signed a letter to the European Commission asking it to wrap up its investigation of the Oracle-Sun merger as soon as possible pleading Sun's precarious financial position and its inability to continue to employ thousands of people endlessly under current conditions.

The senators - there are only a hundred of them - tried reasoning proportion with the EC saying, "It is our understanding the Commission is concerned about competition in the database software market. However, we have been informed by Sun Microsystems that their subsidiary, which competes in this specific market, generates only €17 million in revenue and that the same market has competitors with capitalizations of tens of billions of Euros."

In an explanatory statement accompanying the letter Kerry said, "The deal between Oracle and Sun was announced in April and seven months have gone by without a resolution. Continued delay of the European Commission's decision on clearance threatens thousands of American jobs, so we felt compelled to ask for a speedy resolution. The EC is within its sovereign rights to set the rules for operation in its market, but with our Department of Justice having made a compelling case that the merger does not pose a threat to competition, it is fair to ask the EC for the basis on which a delay on decision making is warranted and to make a decision one way or the other."

Hmm. "One way or the other."

Odd thing about the delay is that Oracle, which has complained to just about everybody about the EC's foot-dragging, just asked for and got more time ostensibly to develop its arguments.

What use six more days will be to Oracle is a question. The regulator seems intent on blocking the merger unless Oracle divests MySQL, which - come to find out from the senators' letter only generates a pissant $25 million in revenue, half of what was generally supposed when Sun bought the thing for - be still, my heart - a frigging billion dollars.

Senator Hatch's statement was a bit testier and mirrors more accurately American public option.

"I have become increasingly concerned about the growing body of evidence that foreign regulatory agencies are unfairly using their review processes to impede the business of American corporations," he said. "This transaction has been thoroughly reviewed by the United States Department of Justice, which has decided to take no action. Therefore, I hope the EC will quickly conclude their investigation into this transaction."

The Senate's letter is the second time Washington has commented on the EC's intransigence on the Oracle-Sun merger.

On November 9, the day Sun got the EC's reportedly 155-page statement of objections, the Justice Department issued a statement saying that it had looked at the MySQL issue and concluded that "the proposed transaction is unlikely to be anticompetitive."

There are plenty of open source and proprietary databases, it said, and so the consumer is unlikely to be harmed. Plus there's a large community of MySQL developers and users with the expertise to maintain, improve and support it.

Such a thing seems to make no never mind with the EC, which thinks Oracle will adopt a licensing and development strategy that prevents MySQL from cannibalizing its revenues even though hasn't happened yet and they're in two separate markets, as Oracle has maintained.

The DOJ's tone was civil - and although its statement hints - as many people surmise - that the EC is bent on a political agenda having little to do with antitrust issues, relations between the two bodies have yet to degenerate into the prickly tension that marked their affairs after the EC blocked the GE-Honeywell merger a few years back.

Still with each passing day the EC, widely seen as a victim of misguided principle, makes itself a bigger target for the critics who see it as a protectionist haven for every malcontent competitor who can't cut it in the marketplace; who wonder what bright boy made it judge, jury and executioner; who are uncomfortable with its 16th century Star Chamber-like level of secrecy and its guessing game set of rules; and who question its objectivity, which was recently criticized by its own overseer after reviewing the Intel antitrust case.

European lobbyist Florian Mueller, who's working for MySQL creator Monty Widenius on opposing Oracle's acquisition of MySQL - though both men made a killing when Sun bought MySQL for a ludicrous billion dollars - claims the Senate gambit isn't going to work and that the "revenues argument is pointless."

"Twitter had zero revenues last year but no one could argue it wasn't a major force in the market," Mueller said, suggesting that the 59 senators should send Larry Ellison a letter asking him to commit to divesting MySQL so he can close the transaction quickly.

"Oracle could have a deal any day of the week by giving up MySQL," Mueller said.

However, John Briggs, an antitrust expert and an old Brussels hand, told Reuters the pressure from the US senators could affect the EC's decision. In his opinion it "will have a hard time ignoring this."

OK, so other than Thanksgiving why did Oracle really want more time?

Apparently to bring pressure like it just did with the senators.

And it got the hearing that was scheduled for November 25, the day before Thanksgiving, shifted to December 10 according to Reuters.

Apparently Oracle could have asked for more than six days. Apparently it was the one who asked for the six-day grace period. The God of the Book of Genesis created the world in six days. Does Larry actually expect to change the EC's mind in an extra six days? God, people say, had an easier job.

Apparently Oracle blew through a November 20 deadline to come up with a remedy. And it now has at least until November 30 to come up with one and avoid an automatic three-week extension of the EC's final decision, whose deadline is now January 27 instead of January 19. So if Oracle doesn't come up with an acceptable solution we could be talking about a final decision on February 17, close to 10 months after Sun and Oracle cut their deal. Meanwhile, the delay is said to be costing Sun a $100 million a month.

Former Ellison lieutenants swear that Larry ain't as perturbed about the EC's delay as Oracle lets on, that he ain't gonna pay the nominal $7.4 billion ($9.50 a share) he offered for Sun (nominal less the money Sun has in the bank) and that he's going to renegotiate the price down complaining that Sun has been materially damaged by the EC's dicking around.

They also say that Ellison could give a hoot about MySQL - it would be nice to have and he doesn't want a serious competitor to have it - but it's not the reason he's interested in Sun. Java, Sparc, Solaris and the Sun installed base is what he's after.

It's hard to imagine Ellison backing off from this fight but, if he wearies of it, he might offer to dump MySQL into an open source project or foundation like, say, Eclipse, or maybe he just needs six days to cut a handshake deal with a company that won't do much at all with MySQL and distancing Oracle from the licensing control that seems to have the EC so perturbed.

It can't control who Oracle might spin it off to.

By way of revenge, if it goes to a player, odds are Oracle will then do whatever's possible to stomp that sucker flat - even if MySQL isn't a direct competitor of Oracle's database.

That said here's the Kerry-Hatch letter:

Chargé d'Affaires Angelos Pangratis

Acting Head of Delegation
Delegation of the European Commission to the United States
2300 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Dear Chargé d'Affaires Pangratis:

As fellow government officials committed to the principle that competition is the cornerstone of healthy economic growth, we would like to take this opportunity to share our thoughts with you as to the proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Inc. by Oracle Corporation.  In addition, due to Sun Microsystems' deteriorating financial condition and the possible negative effect on employment of the company's workforce, we respectfully request the European Commission expedite the completion of its investigation into this transaction.

The United States Department of Justice, after an intensive investigation, closed its inquiry into this transaction without taking any action. In fact, the Justice Department did not find documentary evidence that this acquisition would harm competition. We recognize that the European Commission has a sovereign right to thoroughly investigate transactions where corporations utilize the European Union's marketplace. Further, it is our understanding the Commission is concerned about competition in the database software market. However, we have been informed by Sun Microsystems that their subsidiary, which competes in this specific market, generates only €17 million in revenue and that the same market has competitors with capitalizations of tens of billions of Euros.

Unfortunately, Sun Microsystems' financial position has become more precarious and the Commission's inquiry has continued. Some have raised concerns over the company's ability to continue to employ its thousands of workers. Accordingly, we respectfully request the European Commission complete its investigation of this transaction as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

See http://kerry.senate.gov/cfm/record.cfm?id=320244 for all the signatures.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, discussed how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from millio...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Streamlyzer will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Streamlyzer is a powerful analytics for video streaming service that enables video streaming providers to monitor and analyze QoE (Quality-of-Experience) from end-user devices in real time.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and ...