Senators Implore EU To Decide On Oracle-Sun

In a letter sent Tuesday to the European Commission, the senators invoked the prospect of additional layoffs at Sun, noting that the company's financial situation "has become more precarious" and asking the EC for a "speedy resolution" to the impasse.

Thousands of American jobs could be lost if the delay continues, the senators suggested. In October, Sun said it would lay off up to 3,000 employees, or ten percent of its total workforce, over the next 12 months, citing regulatory delays. Sun has also been losing money to the tune of $677 million over its last four fiscal quarters.

Nevertheless, the EC appears to have dug in its heels on the issue and probably won't be swayed by the senators' impassioned plea. Earlier this month, the EC issued a formal "statement of objections" to the proposed Oracle-Sun deal, and specifically questioned the impact of Oracle's acquisition of Sun's MySQL business. The EC has until Jan. 27, 2010 to complete its review of the case.

Oracle has shown an unwillingness to cede any ground to the EC on this issue. Oracle's stance is that the database market already has plenty of competitors, and that its Oracle database is sufficiently differentiated from MySQL to obviate any anti-competitive concerns. At OracleWorld last month, CEO Larry Ellison said his company has no intention of giving up MySQL.

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Perhaps the EC is simply waiting until it concludes its other lawsuits against American technology companies before making its decision on the Oracle-Sun case. Last month, Microsoft said the European Commission's had tentatively accepted its proposal to offer consumers a choice of Web browsers, which could possibly bring to an end a case that has stretched on for more than a decade.

In May, the EC slapped Intel with a $1.5 billion fine for engaging in "illegal" competitive practices that harmed customers in the European Union (EU).