|By Maureen O'Gara||
|November 27, 2009 11:30 AM EST||
Mergers & Acquisitions on Ulitzer
The United States Senate waded into the Oracle-Sun imbroglio Tuesday.
Fifty-nine senators from both sides of the aisle led by one-time presidential hopeful John Kerry (D-Mass) and perennial presidential pretender Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) signed a letter to the European Commission asking it to wrap up its investigation of the Oracle-Sun merger as soon as possible pleading Sun's precarious financial position and its inability to continue to employ thousands of people endlessly under current conditions.
The senators - there are only a hundred of them - tried reasoning proportion with the EC saying, "It is our understanding the Commission is concerned about competition in the database software market. However, we have been informed by Sun Microsystems that their subsidiary, which competes in this specific market, generates only €17 million in revenue and that the same market has competitors with capitalizations of tens of billions of Euros."
In an explanatory statement accompanying the letter Kerry said, "The deal between Oracle and Sun was announced in April and seven months have gone by without a resolution. Continued delay of the European Commission's decision on clearance threatens thousands of American jobs, so we felt compelled to ask for a speedy resolution. The EC is within its sovereign rights to set the rules for operation in its market, but with our Department of Justice having made a compelling case that the merger does not pose a threat to competition, it is fair to ask the EC for the basis on which a delay on decision making is warranted and to make a decision one way or the other."
Hmm. "One way or the other."
Odd thing about the delay is that Oracle, which has complained to just about everybody about the EC's foot-dragging, just asked for and got more time ostensibly to develop its arguments.
What use six more days will be to Oracle is a question. The regulator seems intent on blocking the merger unless Oracle divests MySQL, which - come to find out from the senators' letter only generates a pissant $25 million in revenue, half of what was generally supposed when Sun bought the thing for - be still, my heart - a frigging billion dollars.
Senator Hatch's statement was a bit testier and mirrors more accurately American public option.
"I have become increasingly concerned about the growing body of evidence that foreign regulatory agencies are unfairly using their review processes to impede the business of American corporations," he said. "This transaction has been thoroughly reviewed by the United States Department of Justice, which has decided to take no action. Therefore, I hope the EC will quickly conclude their investigation into this transaction."
The Senate's letter is the second time Washington has commented on the EC's intransigence on the Oracle-Sun merger.
On November 9, the day Sun got the EC's reportedly 155-page statement of objections, the Justice Department issued a statement saying that it had looked at the MySQL issue and concluded that "the proposed transaction is unlikely to be anticompetitive."
There are plenty of open source and proprietary databases, it said, and so the consumer is unlikely to be harmed. Plus there's a large community of MySQL developers and users with the expertise to maintain, improve and support it.
Such a thing seems to make no never mind with the EC, which thinks Oracle will adopt a licensing and development strategy that prevents MySQL from cannibalizing its revenues even though hasn't happened yet and they're in two separate markets, as Oracle has maintained.
The DOJ's tone was civil - and although its statement hints - as many people surmise - that the EC is bent on a political agenda having little to do with antitrust issues, relations between the two bodies have yet to degenerate into the prickly tension that marked their affairs after the EC blocked the GE-Honeywell merger a few years back.
Still with each passing day the EC, widely seen as a victim of misguided principle, makes itself a bigger target for the critics who see it as a protectionist haven for every malcontent competitor who can't cut it in the marketplace; who wonder what bright boy made it judge, jury and executioner; who are uncomfortable with its 16th century Star Chamber-like level of secrecy and its guessing game set of rules; and who question its objectivity, which was recently criticized by its own overseer after reviewing the Intel antitrust case.
European lobbyist Florian Mueller, who's working for MySQL creator Monty Widenius on opposing Oracle's acquisition of MySQL - though both men made a killing when Sun bought MySQL for a ludicrous billion dollars - claims the Senate gambit isn't going to work and that the "revenues argument is pointless."
"Twitter had zero revenues last year but no one could argue it wasn't a major force in the market," Mueller said, suggesting that the 59 senators should send Larry Ellison a letter asking him to commit to divesting MySQL so he can close the transaction quickly.
"Oracle could have a deal any day of the week by giving up MySQL," Mueller said.
However, John Briggs, an antitrust expert and an old Brussels hand, told Reuters the pressure from the US senators could affect the EC's decision. In his opinion it "will have a hard time ignoring this."
OK, so other than Thanksgiving why did Oracle really want more time?
Apparently to bring pressure like it just did with the senators.
And it got the hearing that was scheduled for November 25, the day before Thanksgiving, shifted to December 10 according to Reuters.
Apparently Oracle could have asked for more than six days. Apparently it was the one who asked for the six-day grace period. The God of the Book of Genesis created the world in six days. Does Larry actually expect to change the EC's mind in an extra six days? God, people say, had an easier job.
Apparently Oracle blew through a November 20 deadline to come up with a remedy. And it now has at least until November 30 to come up with one and avoid an automatic three-week extension of the EC's final decision, whose deadline is now January 27 instead of January 19. So if Oracle doesn't come up with an acceptable solution we could be talking about a final decision on February 17, close to 10 months after Sun and Oracle cut their deal. Meanwhile, the delay is said to be costing Sun a $100 million a month.
Former Ellison lieutenants swear that Larry ain't as perturbed about the EC's delay as Oracle lets on, that he ain't gonna pay the nominal $7.4 billion ($9.50 a share) he offered for Sun (nominal less the money Sun has in the bank) and that he's going to renegotiate the price down complaining that Sun has been materially damaged by the EC's dicking around.
They also say that Ellison could give a hoot about MySQL - it would be nice to have and he doesn't want a serious competitor to have it - but it's not the reason he's interested in Sun. Java, Sparc, Solaris and the Sun installed base is what he's after.
It's hard to imagine Ellison backing off from this fight but, if he wearies of it, he might offer to dump MySQL into an open source project or foundation like, say, Eclipse, or maybe he just needs six days to cut a handshake deal with a company that won't do much at all with MySQL and distancing Oracle from the licensing control that seems to have the EC so perturbed.
It can't control who Oracle might spin it off to.
By way of revenge, if it goes to a player, odds are Oracle will then do whatever's possible to stomp that sucker flat - even if MySQL isn't a direct competitor of Oracle's database.
That said here's the Kerry-Hatch letter:
Chargé d'Affaires Angelos Pangratis
Acting Head of Delegation
Delegation of the European Commission to the United States
2300 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Dear Chargé d'Affaires Pangratis:
As fellow government officials committed to the principle that competition is the cornerstone of healthy economic growth, we would like to take this opportunity to share our thoughts with you as to the proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Inc. by Oracle Corporation. In addition, due to Sun Microsystems' deteriorating financial condition and the possible negative effect on employment of the company's workforce, we respectfully request the European Commission expedite the completion of its investigation into this transaction.
The United States Department of Justice, after an intensive investigation, closed its inquiry into this transaction without taking any action. In fact, the Justice Department did not find documentary evidence that this acquisition would harm competition. We recognize that the European Commission has a sovereign right to thoroughly investigate transactions where corporations utilize the European Union's marketplace. Further, it is our understanding the Commission is concerned about competition in the database software market. However, we have been informed by Sun Microsystems that their subsidiary, which competes in this specific market, generates only €17 million in revenue and that the same market has competitors with capitalizations of tens of billions of Euros.
Unfortunately, Sun Microsystems' financial position has become more precarious and the Commission's inquiry has continued. Some have raised concerns over the company's ability to continue to employ its thousands of workers. Accordingly, we respectfully request the European Commission complete its investigation of this transaction as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
See http://kerry.senate.gov/cfm/record.cfm?id=320244 for all the signatures.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
Oct. 2, 2014 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,302
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Oct. 2, 2014 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,123
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
Oct. 2, 2014 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,186
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
Oct. 1, 2014 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,840
Whether you're a startup or a 100 year old enterprise, the Internet of Things offers a variety of new capabilities for your business. IoT style solutions can help you get closer your customers, launch new product lines and take over an industry. Some companies are dipping their toes in, but many have already taken the plunge, all while dramatic new capabilities continue to emerge. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Reid Carlberg, Senior Director, Developer Evangelism at salesforce.com, to discuss real-world use cases, patterns and opportunities you can harness today.
Oct. 1, 2014 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,218
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!
Oct. 1, 2014 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,415
Noted IoT expert and researcher Joseph di Paolantonio (pictured below) has joined the @ThingsExpo faculty. Joseph, who describes himself as an “Independent Thinker” from DataArchon, will speak on the topic of “Smart Grids & Managing Big Utilities.” Over his career, Joseph di Paolantonio has worked in the energy, renewables, aerospace, telecommunications, and information technology industries. His expertise is in data analysis, system engineering, Bayesian statistics, data warehouses, business intelligence, data mining, predictive methods, and very large databases (VLDB). Prior to DataArcho...
Oct. 1, 2014 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,117
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
Sep. 30, 2014 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,617
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how thes...
Sep. 29, 2014 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,928
Last week, while in San Francisco, I used the Uber app and service four times. All four experiences were great, although one of the drivers stopped for 30 seconds and then left as I was walking up to the car. He must have realized I was a blogger. None the less, the next car was just a minute away and I suffered no pain. In this article, my colleague, Ved Sen, Global Head, Advisory Services Social, Mobile and Sensors at Cognizant shares his experiences and insights.
Sep. 28, 2014 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,573
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) ir...
Sep. 27, 2014 11:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,949
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT. Attendees will learn rea...
Sep. 27, 2014 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,860
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, will share some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder ...
Sep. 27, 2014 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,323
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to create new business models as significant as those that were inspired by the Internet and the smartphone 20 and 10 years ago. What business, social and practical implications will this phenomenon bring? That's the subject of "Monetizing the Internet of Things: Perspectives from the Front Lines," an e-book released today and available free of charge from Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue management.
Sep. 27, 2014 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,547
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges.
Sep. 27, 2014 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,430
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other mach...
Sep. 27, 2014 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,094
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Erik Lagerway, Co-founder of Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice s...
Sep. 26, 2014 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,618
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehe...
Sep. 26, 2014 10:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,536
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, will discuss single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example...
Sep. 26, 2014 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,350
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
Sep. 26, 2014 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,733