Future of MySQL investigated by the European Commission

By EDRi · December 16, 2009

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Deutsch: [Die Europäische Kommission untersucht die Zukunft von MySQL| http://www.unwatched.org/node/1630]

The acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle is investigated by the
European Commission for its potential anti-competition effects, including
the future role of MySQL as an open source database software owned by

The debate between opponents and supporters of the merger has been tenser in
the past weeks, after Oracle called on its biggest customers to support its
position in the hearings at the European Commission, while the creator of
the MySQL Monty Widenius made a public appeal to the open source community
to reject the terms of this acquisition, unless Oracle commits to a series
of issues that will make sure MySQL will not die:
“So I just don’t buy it that Oracle will be a good home for MySQL. A weak
MySQL is worth about one billion dollars per year to Oracle, maybe more. A
strong MySQL could never generate enough income for Oracle that they would
want to cannibalize their real cash cow. I don’t think any company has ever
done anything like that.”

Oracle attacked on 14 December 2009 by making public a series of 10 public
commitments in order to asssure the public and the European Commission of
its firm decision to continue its investment in research for MySQL and “to
enhance MySQL in the future under the GPL.”

The move appears to soften the position of the European regulators that will
decide at the end of January 2010 on this merger, after the US Department of
Justice has already confirmed the deal. The Commission states that the
“announcement by Oracle of a series of undertakings to customers, developers
and users of MySQL is an important new element to be taken into account in
the ongoing proceedings.”

The critics haven’t been convinced of the new commitments, with
Florian Mueller, an open critic of the deal, classifying them as “purely
cosmetic”. He also pointed out that the 5-year limit for the Oracle’s public
commitments is not enough.

Other members of the civil society have already backed the criticism to this
deal with a public letter of the Knowledge Ecology International, Richard
Stallman and EDRi-member Open Rights Group asking the Commission to block
the acquisition.

The letter addressed to the EC officials explains that “Oracle seeks to
acquire MySQL to prevent further erosion of its share of the market for
database software licenses and services, and to protect the high prices now
charged for its proprietary database software licenses and services.

If Oracle is allowed to acquire MySQL, it will predictably limit the
development of the functionality and performance of the MySQL software
platform, leading to profound harm to those who use MySQL software to power

Letter to the EC opposing Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL (19.10.2009)

Oracle pledge pushes Sun deal forward (14.12.2009)

Monty says: Help Saving MySQL (12.12.2009)

Oracle’s pledges on MySQL are ‘purely cosmetic’, say critics (14.12.2009)

Oracle users tell EU Sun deal not anticompetitive (10.12.2009)