EC probe costing Sun $100m a month

Get on with it, says Ellison

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Larry Ellison claims the European Commission investigation into his proposed takeover of Sun Microsystems is costing $100m a month.

Coincidentally that is exactly how much Ellison spends on scented candles to keep his fleet of fighter aircraft smelling fragrant.

The Oracle boss accepted that European regulators have a job to do but said the longer it takes the more money Sun was losing.

Ellison, speaking to former Motorola boss and sometime Sun prez and COO Ed Zander at a Silicon Valley networking event, said: “The US took their time and deliberations and cleared it. They said it was overwhelmingly a pro-competitive deal. The Europeans have to do their job, but I think once they do their job, they’ll come to the same conclusion.”

Competition Commissioner 'Steelie' Neelie Kroes announced a phase-two investigation into the $7.4bn deal earlier this month. She is particularly concerned by the fate of open source database MySQL which is seen as a future competitor to Oracle's core business. But some observers suggest that the Kroes regime has seen more investigations going into stage two and then subsequently being cleared than under previous commissioners.

The Commission could push Oracle to spin off MySQL or provide guarantees for its future development.

But according to the FT, Ellison said, “MySQL and Oracle do not compete at all,” adding that he would not sell the business. He said he wanted Oracle to provide complete systems including storage and hardware. There have been rumours that Sun's hardware business could be sold.

The deal was given the nod in August by the US Department of Justice which had early concerns about Java licensing.

There's more on Ellison's comments here. ®

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