EU antitrust chief slams senators on Oracle deal

Dec 08, 2009

(AP) -- The European Union's antitrust chief said Tuesday that U.S. senators who pressed her to approve Oracle Corp.'s takeover of Sun Microsystems Inc. should stop interfering in Europe's affairs and prioritize U.S. health care reform.

Neelie Kroes, EU competition commissioner, is holding up the $7.4 billion deal over worries that it would give Oracle too much control over the market.

A group of 59 U.S. senators wrote to her last month, asking her to speed up approval for a deal that, if it fails, could cost thousands of American jobs.

Kroes slammed the senators for "interfering in someone else's decisions rather than taking the most important decision that you have control over: improving health care."

"Is this really more important than fixing your own health care system?" she asked in a speech, adding that the senators needed to get their priorities straight.

EU officials have also criticized as inappropriate a recent statement from the U.S. Department of Justice asking for a speedy resolution to the European case.

European regulators have a Jan. 27 deadline to decide whether to approve the takeover or block it. They say they are concerned that Oracle will gain control of company MySQL, which they claim will increasingly pose a threat to Oracle's own proprietary database software.

The EU commission says it is concerned that Oracle could refuse to license MySQL to some companies or for some uses in order to favor its own software - which could limit customer choice and ultimately hike prices. Sun paid $1 billion for MySQL last year.

The EU objection ratchets up tension about the fate of the deal, which Sun badly needs to go through. It lost $677 million over the last four quarters and is rapidly shedding market share to rivals like IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Sun also said in October that it would be cutting up to 3,000 jobs, or 10 percent of its worldwide work force, as it awaits a decision on the fate of the deal.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User comments : 4

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jonnyboy
1 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2009
Neelie needs to stop kneeling to the socialist pressures currently overwhelming most of Europe and approve the deal!!!!!!!!!!!!
Parsec
5 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2009
Allowing companies to establish monopolies in markets is not to anyone's advantage except those companies doing the monopolizing. Balancing competing needs is not socialistic. Pushing back against corporate monopolies is not socialist.

Companies have done a lot of damage by buying up their competitors and destroying them. Anti-trust regulators are required by law to ensure that when this happens it will not cause unwarranted harm to the public.
RayCherry
not rated yet Dec 09, 2009
Economic Freedom, Shareholder's Lobbying Leverage, Corporate Responsability ...

Why did Sun buy MySQL? Why are shareholders lobbying senators to use their time interfering in foreign policy? Even for the Americans, the spead of decline of Sun after this acquisition must look suspricious - particulary in the backdrop of Oracle waiting to receive the 'present'. Would the offer be on the table if MySQL was not included?

Has OpenSource been so effective at flattening the market, that major corporations are becoming intimidated? I'm very sorry to see Sun's story ending this way, and disillussioned by the way the shareholders have treated their staff.
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Dec 09, 2009
Neelie needs to stop kneeling to the socialist pressures currently overwhelming most of Europe and approve the deal!!!!!!!!!!!!
In other words, she should begin kneeling to certain pressures always having overwhelmed most inhabitants of America?