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29 February 2024

MySQL founder turns to China to halt Oracle

By Reuters

Creater of MySQL database is turning his vocal campaign against Oracle's planned takeover of Sun Microsystems to China and Russia because the European Commission appears set to clear the deal.

The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service last week continued its review of the $7 billion (Dh25.7bn) deal, asking for input from interested parties, and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has yet to approve the deal.

"They are powerful, self-confident and open-source-friendly countries and they have every right and opportunity to do a better job on this than the EU," said Micheal Widenius, creator of MySQL database.

Chinese regulators have been flexing their anti-monopoly muscle in deals by global companies, blocking Coca-Cola Co's proposed purchase of China Huiyuan Juice last March and placing conditions on approval of InBev's acquisition of Anheuser-Busch, and Panasonic's buy of Sanyo Electric.

Widenius, one of the most respected developers of open-source software, left Sun last year to set up his own database company, Monty Program Ab. Sun bought MySQL for $1bn in 2008. The European Commission initially objected to Oracle's acquisition of Sun, saying it was concerned Oracle's takeover of the MySQL database could hurt competition in that market.

But the Commission signaled in mid-December that it would likely clear the deal by its January 27 deadline after some of Oracle's largest customers said they believed the takeover would not hurt competition.

MySQL has been a rare major newcomer to the global database market – dominated by technology heavyweights Oracle, IBM and Microsoft – pushing down prices of databases and their maintenance.

Widenius, whose HelpMySQL campaign has collected 30,000 signature against the deal, said the European Commission "may clear the acquisition any moment" as the regulator focused on Sun's problems from a delayed takeover to justify the approval.

Oracle has said Sun is losing $100m a month waiting for the sale to close.

The acquisition would transform Oracle from a maker of software into a technology company that sells computers and storage equipment preloaded with its programmes.

Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison is betting the combination will give his company an edge over rivals such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and EMC.


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