Risk
11/5/2009
06:19 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Global CIO: Oracle Trapped By EU Politics As Sun Employees Suffer

As thousands of Sun employees face layoffs, the EU ninnies focus on conjuring up an outcome that will make them seem less pathetic than they truly are.

The European Union's prolonged dithering over whether Oracle can acquire Sun has been centered less on technology and competitive balance and more on—surprise, surprise!—political gamesmanship and a shameless effort to help the head EU ninny save face rather than do what's right, reports the New York Times.

Were it not for the fact that thousands of Sun employees are losing their jobs while the popinjays of the EU flit about and make life miserable for any American software company callow enough to try to advance above its station in the EU pecking order, this whole pathetic soap opera would be almost funny.

As I wrote a couple of months ago, the real issue here is not fairness or technology or customers; rather, it is the EU's odious quest for power, for control, for relevance, and for authority:

So even for you Oracle-haters out there, please don't take too much joy out of this travesty, because if the EC is able to string Oracle along for three or four months on such disgracefully groundless claims, the busybodies will be further emboldened the next time plans for a merger are tossed into their playpen. And in that case, the company they choose to screw—because they can—just might be yours.

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But don't take my word for it; here's an excerpt from the New York Times, which itself seems to be gushing over the EU's simply splendid continental sophistication:

By confronting Oracle, E.U. regulators risk ushering in a new era of trans-Atlantic tensions over antitrust law. Yet letting Oracle off the hook would smack of weakness after Neelie Kroes, the E.U.'s outgoing competition commissioner, spent the past weeks trying to goad some of Oracle's top executives into making concessions.

The dilemma has prompted speculation that the best outcome for Ms. Kroes would be for Oracle to drop its interest in buying Sun, relieving the regulators of the need to make a choice.

"Neither path Ms. Kroes faces is a pretty one, and yet this is the decision she might end up being remembered by," said Spyros Pappas of the law firm Pappas & Associates in Brussels. "Probably the best escape for her would be for Oracle to cancel the deal."

Now, folks, I certainly can't claim to be the most high-brow citizen of the world, and perhaps all of this gilded-corridor gamesmanship is simply de riguer among the grandees of Brussels and the EU. So forgive me if I get more than a little hacked off because some self-absorbed nanny-state bureaucrats are wasting a lot of time posturing and thereby causing thousands of Sun employees to lose their jobs.

And for what reason? Because EU big-shot Neelie Kroes failed in her misguided attempt to strong-arm Oracle executives? Because Kroes might look weak if she doesn't succeed in trying to buffalo Oracle into thinking that it has to kowtow to bureaucrats before it can try to serve its customers with an expanded product line?

Or maybe we should all feel it's okay for those thousands of Sun employees to lose their jobs—and for many thousands more Sun and Oracle shareholders to lose tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in equity—because "this is the decision she (Kroes) might end up being remembered by?"

Well hell, that would make it okay, right? What's the loss of a few thousand American high-tech jobs compared to chief E.U. nanny Neelie Kroes leaving a legacy that pleases her?

What kind of madness is this? What kind of rabbit-hole have we fallen down when the "solution," as posed by the Times without any apparent awareness of the gross unfairness of such a plan, is this:

The dilemma has prompted speculation that the best outcome for Ms. Kroes would be for Oracle to drop its interest in buying Sun, relieving the regulators of the need to make a choice.

Please note as well the too-bad, so-sad tone adopted by the Times, which in this piece raises its vaunted obtuseness to unprecedented levels with a bit of moral equivalence that is simply breathtaking:

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