Data Storage: Oracle's 15 Key Plot Points in Its Struggle with the EC over Buying Sun Microsystems

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-12-17 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It's been a long, strange and expensive trip for Oracle in its quest to add Sun Microsystems to its list of company acquisitions. And the final chapter isn't yet written.

This started in early 2009 when word got out that Sun was up for sale. At the time, IBM was first in line as a buyer, and that scenario nearly happened. The transaction was only a few days from fruition in mid-April when some major issues got in the way and the deal fell through. A few days later, on April 20, Oracle surprised a lot of people by announcing that it would acquire Sun for about $7.4 billion, less Sun's cash on hand.

Since April 20, it's been a rocky road for Oracle and for Sun, which is losing a lot of potential sales due to the uncertainty of the situation. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has said he believes Sun is losing about $100 million per month, and that's a lot of money for anyone -- even the billionaire Oracle CEO.

The major sticking point is an open-source database that Sun bought for $1 billion two years ago: MySQL. The EC is withholding its blessing on the deal until it is satisfied that MySQL will be allowed to innovate and compete fairly in the IT marketplace. The fact that Oracle's own proprietary database often competes directly against it is seen as a huge conflict of interest; obviously, this has been the crux of the problem. Ellison has said that MySQL does not compete with his company's bread-and-butter databases. This eWEEK slide show covers the 15 most important plot points in this seemingly endless international IT saga.

 
 
 

Oracle's 15 Key Plot Points in Its Struggle with the EC over Buying Sun Microsystems

It's been a long, strange and expensive trip for Oracle in its quest to add Sun Microsystems to its list of company acquisitions. And the final chapter isn't yet written.

This started in early 2009 when word got out that Sun was up for sale. At the time, IBM was first in line as a buyer, and that scenario nearly happened. The transaction was only a few days from fruition in mid-April when some major issues got in the way and the deal fell through. A few days later, on April 20, Oracle surprised a lot of people by announcing that it would acquire Sun for about $7.4 billion, less Sun's cash on hand.

Since April 20, it's been a rocky road for Oracle and for Sun, which is losing a lot of potential sales due to the uncertainty of the situation. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has said he believes Sun is losing about $100 million per month, and that's a lot of money for anyone -- even the billionaire Oracle CEO.

The major sticking point is an open-source database that Sun bought for $1 billion two years ago: MySQL. The EC is withholding its blessing on the deal until it is satisfied that MySQL will be allowed to innovate and compete fairly in the IT marketplace. The fact that Oracle's own proprietary database often competes directly against it is seen as a huge conflict of interest; obviously, this has been the crux of the problem. Ellison has said that MySQL does not compete with his company's bread-and-butter databases. This eWEEK slide show covers the 15 most important plot points in this lingering international IT saga, with the final chapter still to be written.

Oracle's 15 Key Plot Points in Its Struggle with the EC over Buying Sun Microsystems
 
 
 
 
 
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz
 
 
 
 
 
 

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