EU Hearing Timing on Oracle-Sun May Show Deal

Last Updated Nov 27, 2009 9:58 AM EST

According to a Reuters report, the European Union has set a December 10th hearing date for Oracle to make its argument for acquiring Sun. And, if true, this comes after the EU set a late January review date. The idea seems insane, on the face of it. How would Oracle make its case when it just pleaded for an got an extension "in order to have the opportunity to further develop its arguments in response to the Commission's concerns"? All the regulators would succeed in doing is potentially give Oracle grounds to appeal any decision. But if this is true, maybe something else is going on.

The whole reason for the sturm und drang is because the EU has been uncomfortable about Oracle taking over MySQL and further consolidating the database market. It's also clear that there is no way Oracle would be willing to buy Sun if it couldn't get MySQL. Why would it want to spend the momey? And at this point, it seems unlikely that the EU would simply back down and completely lose face.

The other possibility might be that Oracle's intransigence has paid off and the company is doing some kind of deal in which it will promise to "enable" the marketing of the open source database, which would likely mean providing just enough resources to keep regulators away while starving the product line from the development it would need in the long-term to become more of an enterprise challenge to Oracle's main product.

Image via stock.xchng user lockstockb, 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.