MySQL: The Main Hurdle
The No. 1 sticking point all along has been MySQL, an open-source database that Sun bought for $1 billion two years ago. The EC has been withholding approval of the acquisition since August 2009, seeking some kind of assurance that MySQL, which originated in Finland and Sweden, will be allowed to innovate and compete fairly in the IT marketplace.
That Oracle's own proprietary database often competes directly against MySQL is seen by many industry people as an obvious conflict of interest and by some as an insurmountable objection to the deal. Ellison contends that MySQL does not compete directly with his company's high-margin databases, but a large number of people working in relevant fields disagree.
On Jan. 13, an international consulting company, UBS, predicted that Oracle would lay off half-or about 14,000-of Sun's staff when the deal is approved.
Sun responded a day later with a memo to all employees saying Oracle will rely heavily on the skills of Sun's workers and in fact is not planning to lay off that many employees.
"Oracle has asked me to assure Sun employees that this report [by UBS] is absolutely untrue," Brian Sutphin, executive vice president of corporate development and alliances at Sun, wrote in the memo.
Antitrust regulators in Russia also are balking at approving the transaction, preferring to wait until the EC goes public with its declaration.
eWEEK will have full details when a decision on the acquisition is finally made public.