Industry Groups Stepping Forward in Protest

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-10-24 Print this article Print

In recent days, the conflict between Oracle and the EC's Kroes is becoming more pronounced. Other software industry groups and community leaders, including the Open Rights Group, Knowledge Ecology International, and free and open source software icon Richard Stallman have written to Kroes, saying that they are concerned about Oracle's possible squashing of competition in the database market.

They portray MySQL as becoming the unwelcome stepchild in a family of Oracle-branded enterprise databases.

Ellison doesn't see it this way at all, saying at the recent Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco that "MySQL in no way competes with our databases. It has its own market and following. The main competitor is Microsoft [SQL Server], and that's okay by us."

Oracle President Safra Catz made that claim in person to Kroes this past week in Brussels.

The Brussels-based EC, which serves as the antitrust watchdog wing of the 27-country European Union, is currently doing due diligence on two main areas of concern: Sun's Java networking software franchise and the enterprise parallel database business. But a possible database monopoly is the key nut it wants to crack.

Kroes, who has been ranked by Forbes for several years as one of the world's most powerful women in business, told Reuters Oct. 21 that Oracle has failed to produce hard evidence to placate concerns that its purchase of Sun would hurt competition.

"Commissioner Kroes expressed her disappointment that Oracle had failed to produce, despite repeated requests, either hard evidence that there were no competition problems or, alternatively, proposals for a remedy to the competition problems identified by the (European) Commission," EC spokesperson Jonathan Todd told the news service.

Several analysts contacted by eWEEK had varying points of view about whether Oracle should divest itself of the MySQL franchise in order to complete the Sun acquisition.

"There are at least three other database offerings in the marketplace besides Oracle: IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, and PostgreSQL - an open-source alternative," Brian Babineau of Enterprise Strategy Group told eWEEK. "In my opinion, that still represents a fairly competitive market. So I do not see any reason why Oracle would have to sell off MySQL to get the Sun deal approved. 

"If the EU is hung up on the 'We need an open source alternative in the market,' then PostgresSQL should suffice. If the EU is hung up on the 'We need large companies in the market,' IBM and Microsoft should suffice."

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 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 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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