EU and Oracle Should Just Say We Want Sun Dead

Last Updated Nov 20, 2009 1:53 PM EST

Following the European Union's review of the proposed Oracle-Sun deal, and Oracle's response, makes you wonder whether continental regulators and Larry Ellison have an unquenchable taste for irony or are really interested in seeing Sun dead and buried, given that the review time has just extended another six days to January 27.

Sun had been shopping itself around for a long time, albeit unsuccessfully. The company had been on the ropes -- not that it was going underwater, but it had big problems and needed someone or something to straighten it out if it was to survive long-term. IBM looks as though it will do the deal, and then suddenly that falls through. And then along comes Oracle.

Is it idea? No, because Oracle knows diddly about the hardware business, and its database is going to compete with MySQL. But there weren't any other offers. This would seem to be a case of let the deal happen or plan on a corporate wake.

However, you've got to ask what in blue blazes is going on. The EU has its back up about Oracle buying MySQL. The concern is about reducing market competition. And yet, there are other databases available. Microsoft has SQL Server. IBM has DB2 ... and Informix, which it was able to acquire some years back. There's Sybase. If Linux is of interest, you can find a list of commercial and open source SQL databases and tools.

Is it that the EU is really that concerned over the massive antitrust issues? After all, if Sun goes under, maybe MySQL survives, or maybe it doesn't. But there's a massive chance in the offing. Maybe it's pressure from SAP, as some have speculated. Maybe other parties are pushing to acquire MySQL. Maybe it's an issue of nationalism, because MySQL is a product originally from Europe. Whatever the reason, this doesn't look as though it will end well. The EU seems to want Oracle to give in on giving up the product. Oracle doesn't see a reason for the deal if it can't get it. Meanwhile, Sun is the patient on life support. The IV line is running out, and no one seems to be in a hurry to replace the drip bag.

Image via stock.xchng user adamci, site standard license.

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.