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EU 'optimistic' Oracle will see reason on MySQL

It's the open source, stoopid

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The European Union's competition chief has said she's "optimistic" a settlement can be reached with Oracle over its proposed $5.6bn acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

Neelie Kroes is reported to have told journalists: "Let's be optimistic, and let's find out if they could take us to a point that we say, 'OK, here we can take the result as a satisfying result for fair competition."

She added: "We do have serious complainers, so we have to do our job properly."

One of those "complainers" is probably SAP - Oracle's biggest Java and business applications rival. The plodding enterprise resource planning giant has started to shout about Oracle taking control of Java through the Java Community Process (JCP) rather than Oracle's ownership of MySQL, though.

Kroes was speaking after the EU Competition Commission this week listed its objections to Oracle's acquisition. In an official statement of objections, the EU said it was concerned about the impact on the competition by the enterprise-database giant owning the open-source MySQL.

Oracle immediately lambasted the EU in a statement that suggests Oracle can't see why it should respond to any of the Union's points. Oracle said the regulators' assessment revealed a "profound misunderstanding of both database competition and open source dynamics."

The giant dinged regulators for "not getting it, stoopid". "It is well understood by those knowledgeable about open source software that because MySQL is open source, it cannot be controlled by anyone. That is the whole point of open source," Oracle said.

That's the kind thinking floating around Silicon Valley, anyway, among proponents of the deal.

Code's one thing, though, brand is another. As former MySQL advisor Florian Mueller who wrote a positioning paper that helped persuade the EU to investigate, said recently, Oracle would hold the brand and the databases assets, and it would take somebody else years before any fork could reach the same kind of technical maturity and level of acceptance as MySQL.

Further, claiming that the two databases serve different markets – as Oracle and Sun have recently - is wrong. While Oracle serves massive operations MySQL cannot touch, Sun had begun using MySQL to try and siphon off smaller Oracle customers before the deal. ®

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