Oracle faces uphill battle as EU slams US Senate

Outgoing EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes has slammed US Senators for asking for a speedy resolution to the probe into Oracles proposed takeover of Sun. After an investigation into if Java licensing could be abused by Oracle, the DoJ gave its blessing to the deal back in August.

As lawyers warn that Oracle faces an ‘uphill battle’ in persuading EU antitrust regulators to allow its $7.8 billion purchase of Sun Microsystems, a group of US Senators received an unexpected slap in the face for asking that the deal be allowed through.

In a speech in Brussels, Kroes asked: 

“Is this really more important than fixing your own health care system?”

She went on to accuse the senators of interfering in someone else’s decisions rather than taking the most important decision facing them – improving health care – and told them they needed to ‘get their priorities in order’.

Meanwhile, Charles van Sasse van Ysselt, a competition lawyer based in Brussels, observed:

“It’s an uphill battle for Oracle. It’s unlikely that the commission will change its view following an oral hearing because usually all the arguments have been made and extensive evidence has been sent.”

Analysts believe the controversy over Oracle’s plans for the MySQL database software will mean the EU rejecting the takeover and estimate that the delay in rubber-stamping the deal is costing Sun $100 million a month.

UPDATE: Earlier today (Wednesday) Kroes told a press conference ahead of Thursday’s hearing on the case that she still ‘remains optimistic’ the EU can strike a deal with Oracle.

“I’m still optimistic that we can reach a satisfactory outcome and ensure there is no adverse impact on effective competition on European markets,” Kroes told journalists in Brussels.

Oracle, Sun and a number of companies opposing the deal, including Microsoft and SAP, will be present at the hearing.

See Also
EU at odds with US over Oracle antitrust probe
Oracle Sun takeover like putting fox in charge of the hen house