Global CIO: Oracle Customer Comments Will Force EU To Yield

Oracle customers last week crushed the EU's case against Oracle by saying its databases don't compete with MySQL. But will the EU listen?
The EU says it wants to protect customers from anticompetitive blowback from the deal, and to ensure that Oracle doesn't lock MySQL away in a tower or a dungeon. Well now a wide cross-section of such customers have spoken directly to the EU of their own free will, and in the face of such presentations it will be hard for even the shameless EU market manipulators to continue to claim that the sky will fall if Oracle is allowed to buy Sun.

A month ago, I suggested that Oracle should turn up the pressure on Kroes and the EU by telling its European customers that, due to the ongoing dishonest and onerous intrusions by the EU into the private marketplace, Oracle would be forced to suspend its operations in the EU and would therefor begin cutting off service and support to Europe-based customers starting Jan. 1, 2010.

Such a move, I said, would generate a wave of phone calls and letter-writing that the EU shut-ins had never seen and would impress upon them the sheer idiocy of their intractable position over a contrived concern that should never have been granted legitimacy in the first place.

Oracle has instead made an equally powerful bet, one that independent European antitrust attorney Silvio Cappelari said could swing the decision heavily in Oracle's favor: "If [Oracle's customers] have a convincing story to tell, this would certainly increase Oracle's chances to get the deal cleared with little or even no concessions."

Another lawyer, though one with very strong subjective feelings toward the outcome, also felt the testimony by Oracle's customers could carry the day. Thomas Vinje, the outside counsel heading up Oracle's case before the EU, said last week, "There can't be a better voice than customers'. The customers said that there is robust competition in the market."

Indeed they did, and indeed there is. And now, if only the EU wonks will be willing to see that reality and focus on the rule of law instead of the rule of CYA, Oracle and Sun and their many thousands of customers and millions of users around the globe can get back to enhancing business value and customer value through information technology.

That also means the EU will be free to look for its next shakedown target, but hey—we'll deal with that one when it arises as, unfortunately, it inevitably will.


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

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