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Recurring Revenue: Article

It’s Payback Time for Oracle & Sun

Microsoft is going to step out of the European Commission’s dock and point an accusing finger at somebody else for a change

Oracle Journal on Ulitzer

On Thursday or Friday Microsoft is going to step out of the European Commission's dock and point an accusing finger at somebody else for a change.

It's supposed to testify at the closed-to-the-press hearing in Brussels where Oracle and Sun hope to convince the EC to stop worrying about Oracle rolling over on MySQL and smothering the thing if it acquires MySQL's owner, the sinking Sun Microsystems.

Microsoft will be there to help catalogue all the anti-competitive reasons why the Commission shouldn't fall for Oracle's siren song.

It's not just that Oracle has posed MySQL as a competitor to Microsoft's SQL Server rather than its own database. It's also payback time for Oracle and Sun pushing the Justice Department to bring the antitrust suit against Microsoft that opened the floodgates to Microsoft being heaped with lèse majesté abuse ever since. There would never have been a DOJ suit without their lobbying efforts.

It's also payback time for Sun's complaint to the EC about the scarcity of Windows interoperability information that eventually led to an expanded EC probe of Microsoft, its first statement of objections against the company and the first whopping great fine Microsoft had to pay.

Oracle's other great rival, the German SAP, is also supposed to turn up according to the Dow Jones and get its licks in.

Ditto MySQL creator Monty Widenius, disillusioned by his brief tenure at Sun who now wants to re-create MySQL around his MariaDB fork. Widenius wants Oracle to be forced to divest MySQL to somebody who preferable would change its open source license from the GPL to Apache.

For its part Oracle is supposed to show up with nine customers in tow including the Swedish company LM Ericsson. It uses both MySQL and Oracle's own database. GPL expert Eben Moglen is also supposed to be there in support of the Oracle-Sun merger.

Oracle should at least be able to pass around a copy of the Financial Times where IBM Software chief Steve Mills, who thinks Oracle is going to get its way, says IBM's DB2 database never runs into MySQL, supporting Oracle's contention that traditional back-office databases like DB2 and its own stuff don't compete with the webby, less sophisticated, "bottom-of-the-market" MySQL, as Mills called it.

Widenius' spokesman Florian Mueller circulated an e-mail reiterating what he told the FT - "that IBM's comments were an indication that competition concerns were well founded. They would like MySQL to be confined and lose relevance because they, too, feel competitive pressure from it."

According to Bloomberg Oracle is supposed to argue that the EC is using an aggressive legal theory that casts MySQL is a "maverick" that can stop Oracle from raising prices.

Reuters reported after an EC press conference Wednesday that its lame duck antitrust chief Neelie Kroes said she was "still optimistic that we can reach a satisfactory outcome that will ensure there is no adverse impact on effective competition in the European market."

It is unclear why she would be optimistic in the face of Oracle's insistence on her unconditional surrender. It looks more like a Mexican standoff.

The deadline for the EC's decision is January 27. Oracle currently has until Monday December 14 to submit a remedy.

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

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