Tussle in Brussels: The EC’s Oracle-Sun Hearing, Day 1
Oracle is defending its planned acquisition of Sun Microsystems before the European Commission this week, and according to the company’s legal team, the first day of arguments went quite well. “I am extremely happy,” Oracle attorney Thomas Vinje said of the first half of the two-day hearing in Brussels.
And evidently for good reason. Oracle (ORCL) has managed to muster a substantial list of customers willing to argue that its purchase of Sun (JAVA), and more specifically, of Sun’s open-source MySQL database software, will not undermine competition in the database market.
Among the eight companies helping Oracle defend the deal: Vodafone (VOD), the U.K.’s National Health Service, Sabre Holdings and Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBV). “There can’t be a better voice than customers,” Vinje said. “The customers said that there is robust competition in the market.”
But that’s today. Tomorrow will be a different story entirely. Tomorrow, Microsoft (MSFT) and SAP (SAP) will comment on the $7 billion deal, and neither company is particularly fond of it, or of Oracle for that matter. Both will presumably argue that Oracle’s acquisition of Sun could hinder MySQL’s development since Oracle has little reason to support a database technology that competes with its own–though some, like IBM, disagree.
One last bit of news worth noting, here. European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes seems confident the EC will resolve its differences with Oracle. “I am still optimistic that we can reach a satisfactory outcome that will ensure that there is no adverse impact on effective competition in the European market,” she told a news conference.