|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.
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 11:15 AM EST Reads: 916
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Dec. 5, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 612
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
Dec. 5, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 218
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:30 AM EST Reads: 993
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:30 AM EST Reads: 7,051
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web ...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:15 AM EST Reads: 1,286
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Dec. 5, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,796
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Dec. 5, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,619
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 06:30 AM EST Reads: 745
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Dec. 5, 2016 06:15 AM EST Reads: 903
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Dec. 5, 2016 06:00 AM EST Reads: 1,679
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
Dec. 5, 2016 04:15 AM EST Reads: 1,618
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Dec. 5, 2016 04:00 AM EST Reads: 5,130
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
Dec. 5, 2016 04:00 AM EST Reads: 4,709
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 03:30 AM EST Reads: 951
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dec. 5, 2016 01:30 AM EST Reads: 783
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 5, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 1,579
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Dec. 5, 2016 12:30 AM EST Reads: 6,106
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
Dec. 5, 2016 12:15 AM EST Reads: 1,169
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 4, 2016 10:45 PM EST Reads: 1,015