The better part of valour
Having seen what the European Commission (EC) has inflicted on other US companies it deemed to be behaving in an anti-competitive way, Oracle boss Larry Ellision has wisely decided the better part of valour is discretion.
Oracle announced its intention to buy Sun Microsystems last April, which led to immediate concerns about what the world's largest database company would do with Sun's free MySQL competing database software.
While US regulators gave the acquisition the all-clear last August, the EC flagged concerns about what effect Oracle's ownership of MySQL would have on competition in the database market, and commenced an investigation in September.
In a bid to ease the EC's concerns - and persuade it not to block the acquisition - Oracle has publicly committed to ten measures designed to maintain MySQL as a competitive force in the database market. You can see them in full on the next page.
In response, the EC has issued a short statement welcoming the vows:
The European Commission can confirm that it has engaged in constructive discussions with Oracle regarding the maintenance of MySQL as an important competitive force in the database market after Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
Today's 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. In particular, Oracle's binding contractual undertakings to storage engine vendors regarding copyright non-assertion and the extension over a period of up to 5 years of the terms and conditions of existing commercial licenses are significant new facts.
In this context, Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes recalls and confirms her statement of 9 December 2009 that she is optimistic that the case will have a satisfactory outcome, while ensuring that the transaction will not have an adverse impact on effective competition in the European database market.