The FT’s editorial page takes issue with the EU Commission’s involvement in the Oracle / Sun deal:
The mere possibility that a $7.4bn technology merger in California might be blocked by regulators nearly half the world away over a fly-speck of a business shows how odd the dispute over Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems has become. Read more
Despite signs that the over-heated rhetoric is cooling down a bit, it’s too soon to predict a compromise in the transatlantic falling-out over Oracle’s plan to buy Sun.
European competition commissioner Neelie Kroes was more measured in her comments to reporters on Wednesday, suggesting that some sort of agreement might be possible that would protect competition in the database market and allow the dispute to blow over. That certainly sounded less punchy than her own spokesman’s attack on Oracle earlier in the week as “facile and superficial”. Read more
Things at Sun Microsystems do not seem to be quite as bad as Larry Ellison has been suggesting.
The Oracle boss said in late September that Sun was losing $100m a month as European regulators put its $7.4bn acquisition on hold. Then, a month later, Sun announced plans to sack 3,000 workers – a move that was widely seen as having been caused by the European delay.
The latest quarterly figures from Sun, filed with the SEC on Friday, paint a slightly different picture. Read more
When it comes to deal-making, predicting what Larry Ellison will do next is never easy – which is just the way he wants it.
So what to make of the fact that Mr Ellison’s pursuit of Sun Microsystems has now reached a point few expected, with the European Commission close to drawing a line in the sand with a formal objection to the deal?
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Brussels will act to block it. But it does show that things have reached an impasse in Brussels, which at the very least means a longer delay – with further detrimental effects to Sun’s business.
Assuming neither side balks before the EC issues its objection, Mr Ellison now appears to have a number of options. Read more
It is perhaps with good reason that Larry Ellison does not speak in public that often. Whenever he does, the famously bombastic Oracle chief executive seems certain to trash his rivals, make bold predictions about Oracle’s future, and wander off topic.
Last night at a meeting of the Churchill Club, Mr Ellison said that Sun Microsystems was losing $100m a month as European regulators scrutinise Oracle’s proposed takeover of the struggling hardware maker.
On the economy, Mr Ellison said it would be at least another five years before the US begins to recover. He said it would not be a V shaped recovery with a sharp rebound, or a W shaped recovery with a double dip, or a U shaped recovery with a pause before an uptick, but an L shaped recovery — “down and not coming back up.” Read more
How could an open source software project that we hear generates a modest 17m euros a year in Europe have held up a $7.4bn tech industry mega-merger ?
Unlikely as it sounds, Brussels has put the Oracle/Sun deal on hold while it takes a longer look at the fate of tiny MySQL, which Gartner reckons has a database market share of around half a percentage point.
Clearly, somewhere along the line Oracle has played its cards very badly. Read more
The US may have cleared Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, but there’s still a view among some people who have been close to this transaction that it won’t be the easy sell in Europe that Wall Street seems to assume.
According to this view, Oracle won’t get the same free pass to acquire Java that it got from the Department of Justice, but will be forced to accept some sort of undertaking to ensure that licensing of Java does not become overly restrictive. Given the central part Java has played in building a counter-weight to Microsoft in the software industry, it isn’t hard to see why European regulators might be interested. There have been rumblings that SAP has been lobbying hard with Brussels on this issue.
If so, then someone forgot to tell Hasso Plattner. The chairman of SAP’s supervisory board, and a co-founder of the company, Plattner was in Silicon Valley late this week, and I got the chance to ask him how he feels about Java passing to Oracle. Read more
At the official passing of the Java torch today, Larry Ellison couldn’t resist dangling the suggestion that Oracle is getting ready to launch some sort of new client software platform to rival Google’s Android and – an unspoken challenge – Microsoft.
The Oracle boss was on stage with Scott McNealy at the annual JavaOne event in San Francisco, in what looked like a symbolic ceding of Sun’s leadership of Java after nearly two decades. Read more
Speculation about a possible spin-off of Sun’s hardware business by Oracle may not be so wide of the mark after all. The reason: Oracle’s initial acquisition interest only extended to some of Sun’s software assets.
Also, HP spent months doing due diligence over a possible bid of its own but backed out at the last minute without ever submitting an offer, so there’s a chance of it emerging as a buyer should Oracle opt to shed any parts of Sun in future.
Those are some of the things to be gleaned from Sun’s detailed disclosure to the SEC today of the events leading up to its deal with Oracle (HP’s identity is not disclosed – it is mentioned in the filing only as “Party B”. But one person who had a ringside seat to the action has told us that HP was actively engaged for months, and that despite widespread speculation, Cisco never showed any serious interest.) Read more