Why Is the EU Blocking Oracle s Acquisition of Sun

November 9th, 2009

I'm trying to understand why the European Union, or more specifically, the European Commission is blocking Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

I've read that the primary reason is that their ownership of MySQL will remove important competition in the database marketplace.

I completely and 100% disagree with them, and I'll explain why.

As I understand it, Sun purchased MySQL, the company, to get acquire its employees and customer relationships. MySQL, the software project, is open source. Certainly, MySQL is a trademarked brand, and not everyone can create software, call it MySQL, and start trying to sell it. However, if Sun or Oracle decided to stop releasing open source revisions of the software or to stop development on it altogether, developers and consumers could continue development on the source code and marketing and releasing it under another name.

However, I think the argument here is that Oracle will not stop development of MySQL, and that their acquisition of it will require that consumers purchase it from them. Since the source code is open source and freely available, customers are not required to buy it from anyone. They may choose to do so, in the form of a subscription with added support, but that is their choice. There are also other companies which offer subscriptions to open source software, which likely includes MySQL, such as RedHat.

Furthermore, there are several other competing open source database options for consumers, such as Postgres, HSQLdb, and SQLite.

While I think MySQL is an important factor in the deal and I feel that Larry Ellison's apparent position that he won't buy Sun without MySQL is smart, my guess is that Java is a much more significant part of the deal - a part which I also have no problem with!

So I say: "Go for it Oracle!"

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