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Java Businesses EU Government Open Source Oracle Sun Microsystems United States

US Gov't Lobbied EU To Approve Oracle-Sun Merger 169

littlekorea writes "Cables leaked by Wikileaks have revealed that the U.S. Government actively pressured the EU Competition Commissioner to approve Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems. The cable reveals that the U.S. went to great lengths to discover how the competition commissioner felt about the 'pro-competitive' nature of open source software and whether this would represent a threat to the US$7.4 billion deal."
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US Gov't Lobbied EU To Approve Oracle-Sun Merger

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  • It's only right! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @05:35AM (#37251158)

    Why should the EU decide this on their own? It's better that the Worlds Remaining Superpower (tm) be there to ensure they make the right decision. And it's Oracle. What could possibly go wrong?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @05:55AM (#37251218)

      US Government has also decided that MS Windows monopoly is good (for US). It does not matter if technical development is halted by the monopoly as long as it brings taxes to US.
      And US was the "market economy" which has grown from competitive freedom of markets. Well, if you control whole world, why bother to care about free markets and competition.

      • Re:It's only right! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Kagetsuki ( 1620613 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @10:02AM (#37252898)

        You don't know how true that is. []

        From the link: "The Japanese government planned to introduce the Matsushita PC in its schools, but the United States government objected, claiming that the plan constituted market intervention and threatened Japan with sanctions (partly at the request of Microsoft)."

        I've seen a BTRON machine and it was impressive, easily better than Windows of the era. It should be noted that BTRON was an open OS and was developed by a group of companies who had a mutually vested interest. It lives on however as iTRON, which is the OS in things like car control systems, washing machine fuzzy logic controllers, refrigerators, TV's, cell phones etc. Next time you pop open something and find a chip with "Renesas" printed on it you can probably assume it's got iTRON on it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It is when the US Gov forces Genetically Modified food down everyone's throat [], often in the face of overwhelming democratic opposition to them - even in some cases the political elite objecting (See this India cable []: "Very serious fears [...] of Monsanto controlling our food chain"), that things start to get really questionable.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @05:57AM (#37251232) Homepage

      "The Worlds Remaining Superpower" is now an oxymoron. The US may have a lot of military personnel but it's a very sick country on the verge of collapse.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Totally agree. I am tired of having to walk across the village every day to get water. Worst of all we can barely invade, destroy, and control two third world countries on the other side of the globe any more Sad really to see a great country on the edge of ruin. Back in the day we used to be able to just impose our will on the rest of the world, but now those brown skinned cretins want to exercise their own free will, The ungrateful vermin.
      • by 1s44c ( 552956 )

        "The Worlds Remaining Superpower" is now an oxymoron. The US may have a lot of military personnel but it's a very sick country on the verge of collapse.

        Are you sure he wasn't talking about China?

      • Rome (Score:3, Funny)

        by mfh ( 56 )

        What America needs now is an old dude to assume the role of high church office so that America can officially become a religious state. They can then live off the proceeds offered by the superstitious tourists.

        I mean when you have a great Empire that implodes on itself after having succumbed to military spending insanity, what's left to do when everything goes to shit?

        • What America needs now is an old dude to assume the role of high church office so that America can officially become a religious state

          You may laugh, but that's what a Rick Perry Presidency promises.

          They can then live off the proceeds offered by the superstitious tourists.

          Unfortunately, most of those tourists won't have a lot of money, as they will be coming from third-world shitholes just like ours. In the meantime, the advanced and developed nations will continue to work on social and economic progress, i

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Maybe so. But we're big enough to drag the rest of the world down with us!
        Or use our massive military to just take what we want. Or need.

        Say.... i think you might have some W.M.D's. And oil. You need some freedom too. Don't worry. We'll save you!

        • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

          Fortunately (or unfortunately) that's no longer the case.

          It will be a considerable blow if the US goes down, but it doesn't cause a fatal blow anymore.

          And every time there is a recession the US is falling down on the scale of economic weight.

      • by rednip ( 186217 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @08:47AM (#37252108) Journal

        While there is always a segment of the American population who believes 'that the end is right around the corner', if only for religious beliefs, it always seems that there are many more of them after a economic crisis. We're Americans, we always get though it, yet, even after 8 strait quarters of admittedly weak GDP growth, but growth none the less, many are still beating the drums of crisis.

        Maybe for you the American dream is over, but for most of us it's chugging along.

        • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

          Unless you are able to turn around the trade deficit you will slowly lose the strength of the US economy. The trade deficit is paid for in different ways - often in US bound assets - properties and shares in various companies.

          Imagine the surprise if one day a company like Apple suddenly is owned by foreign owners and they decide to move the HQ to Taiwan or Hong Kong.

        • 8 straight (not "strait") quarters of GDP growth does not begin to compensate for 8 straight years of ZERO job growth.

      • by jafac ( 1449 )

        The US may have a lot of military personnel but it's a very sick country on the verge of collapse.

        you are not kidding. I was just at an airshow. The hardware on PUBLIC EXHIBITION was old, worn out, rusty, beat all to hell, and looked like even a fresh coat of paint wouldn't "make things better".

        Back in the 1990's we used to joke about how beat up former soviet hardware looked.

        • by rednip ( 186217 )

          Back in the 80's analysts were noting that Russian ships were heading out to sea on their normal rotation. In the 90's the Russians were more concerned with generating hard cash than funding the military, as the soviet union had collapsed by then. I don't think that we are quite at that point, but if you think that we are, then you should consider that Russia is in better fiscal shape now.

          I've never seen so much FUD pushed around about America in my entire life, it sickens me that most of it is coming as

    • Why shouldn't the US Government have an interest in a third parties decision affecting two large US companies? I don't get the issue here, to me the "outrage" that this story puts forward seems forced and misused.

      • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @07:43AM (#37251634) Journal

        Why shouldn't the US Government have an interest in a third parties decision affecting two large US companies?

        The problem is not that the US Government has an interest. The problem is they are encouraging the wrong side of the argument.

        The fact that anti-trust laws are being ignored at this level is the best example that our government has been completely co-opted by corporate interests. We are no longer a country for the people. Now we are a country for the corporations.

        • by tgd ( 2822 )

          What anti-trust laws were ignored at that level?

          Sun and Oracle had largely non-overlapping markets. Its one of the very few huge tech mergers in memory that had almost no anti-trust issues.

          • Re:It's only right! (Score:4, Informative)

            by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @08:47AM (#37252118) Homepage

            Nonsense. This is an utter falsehood. Sun and Oracle's markets were by no stretch of the imagination "non overlapping".

            You had the problems of excessive vertical integration as well as one direct rival swallowing another. This deal undermined the level of useful diversity in both the enterprise operating systems and RDBMS space. It also impacted a large number of other software projects and led to patent issues. It directly led to collateral damage in a seemingly unrelated market with patent litigation over Java.

            The Sun-Oracle deal was nothing but anti-trust issues.

          • Re:It's only right! (Score:5, Informative)

            by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <> on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @09:18AM (#37252410) Homepage Journal

            Yes, because Oracle DB is completely different from MySQL, Oracle Linux is completely different from Solaris, and they have no competition between them whatsoever. Yup.

        • by martas ( 1439879 )

          We are no longer a country for the people. Now we are a country for the corporations.

          Oblig: but corporations ARE people! The supreme court said so.

      • ..Two international companies with headquarters in the USA, and offices all over the world ...

        The third party (EU) is where a lot of their sales are.

        The world does not revolve around the USA ...

        • The world does not revolve around the USA, just the world economy. That is if the EU would stop dragging the US economy down with their silly antics and entire countries going bankrupt.

        • The EU should no more pass judgement over the merger of US corporations than the US should over merger of EU corporations. The only time they should both be involved is if there is a cross border merger, period.

      • LOL I guess if you don't see rank corruption as a problem, have a nice day.

        I don't know why you bother to read the news, if you will simply ignore anything that rocks your little boat.

    • by F69631 ( 2421974 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @06:03AM (#37251254)

      Lobbying isn't that bad. USA officials had arrived to one conclusion, felt that the issue was very important to them and communicated that to EU officials. Regular co-operative communication between officials of two political bodies. If EU officials then arrived to a result which (considering all things, including any political capital gained or lost) was bad for us as EU citizens, then our own officials are to blame. Personally, I don't think that they did and there is nothing in TFA that implies otherwise.

      In other words, the cables show that EU and USA officials of corresponding organizations actually communicate with each other when handling international issues. Nothing to see here.

      • by AlecC ( 512609 ) <> on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @08:26AM (#37251876)

        I agree - except that it should not have come out via Wikileaks. The US is entitled to lobby on behalf of two large US corporations which have decided to merge. But is should do so in the open - as should all lobbyists.

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        The problem is that it's a conflict of interest for the US to both regulate and advocate for a corporation.

      • It's funny that of the top three comments I see two almost robotically-identical opinions that there's nothing to see here, please move along.

        Almost as if you're being paid to downplay this issue. The merger of two large companies is almost always accompanied by job losses in the industry. No, check that, I dare you to find ONE instance of a merger on this scale that didn't lead to widespread job destruction. It wasn't in the USA's best interest to let this merger go through -- it was in ORACLE'S best in

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's better that the Worlds Remaining Superpower (tm) be there to ensure they make the right decision.

      I don't think it's reasonable to expect China to handle everything.

    • A country debates with another country to preserve it's interests.
      Has Wikileaks released anything really informative?

      Here are their big leaks.
      1. The military during war isn't always the most upstanding group of people and wrong people get killed, and the government doesn't like to tell you that. Duh ask any veteran they will tell you the same thing.

      2. Diplomats and leaders are a bunch of selfish pompous hypocritical jerks. They are still human. And they are humans with extra power, so yea. If you didn't kn

      • by Pieroxy ( 222434 )

        If you didn't know that you must live in a land with unicorns and flowers.

        Care to share the GPS coordinates of that land? I'm looking for a nice place for my vacation and my kids love Harry Potter.

    • Yeah, because putting pressure on Neelie Smit-Kroes proved sooo usefull in the Microsoft anti-trust case e.g.

      Due to internal politics in the EU she's no longer Competition Commissioner, but believe me, pressurizing her does not work well.

      She has really done a wealth of good for competition and the free market in Europe and has dealt with the largest and meanest corporations and governments without budging one inch.

      • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

        Which is surprising, as Mrs. Smit-Kroes is surrounded with a lot of suspicion of being on the take and inappropriate lobbying.

        Her record on housing and construction is particularly shaky, given that most of her decisions seem to favour her friends in the real-estate industry.


  • By the people, for the people!

  • what would happen if they said no? At a guess the EU subsidiaries of each company could not merge but the US ones could. In practice this would mean that the EU subsidiaries would probably have to separate from the combined company, probably with rights to patents and copyright for their previous products in the EU. This would be a mess for everyone, the EU left with subsidiaries with rights that have no future development, and the USA base having rights outside the EU, being able to develop, but losing EU
  • This certainly is an improvement on the free market paradigm most large companies try to shove down your throat.

    Not only does the government stay out of your way, it gets other governments to support you.

    The land of the free...

    • Free market fundamentalists see this as a corruption as well.

      What they don't understand (refuse to see), is that market fundamentalism leads to powerful corporate institutions that can wield this type of influence. "Too big to fail" is a symptom of not enough regulation, and so is "government of the corporation, for the corporation, and by the corporation".

      Interesting that Hayek, the intellectual founder of modern republican voodoo-economics, saw the role of government limited to breaking up concentrat
  • by sirwired ( 27582 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @07:20AM (#37251552)

    This sort of thing is exactly what diplomats do. They lobby other countries to take actions perceived as favorable for their own country. There is no evidence here of threats, extortion, or arm twisting. Just diplomacy.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

    • Lobbying is a type of corruption. It can be legal in USA, but is a type of corruption that is not legal everywhere.

      • Lobbying is NOT a type of corruption. When grandma writes a letter to her local politician complaining about this or that, she is lobbying. When a politician sells his ear at a $5k per head dinner, that is (legalised) corruption.
      • Lobbying is that thing that is protected in the Constitution of the United States Amendment #1.

      • One government making a request of another is illegal in some places? Where exactly is this the case? What do non-consular diplomats DO all day in those countries?

      • You seem to be lobbying against lobbying, therefore by your argument you are corrupt. If you were a robot this is where you'd explode.
    • Do you think that the US' actions during the overthrow of Chile's President Allende and the imposition of a dictatorship was "no pressure"? Or its actions in Iran just before the Shah was put into power? Or its attempts to overthrow Fidel Castro? And just why do you suppose we went to all the bother of overthrowing Sadam Hussein when there really were no "Weapons of Mass Destruction"; and we knew it?

      The "no pressure" from the USA is always - ALWAYS - applied with the sure and certain knowledge that we have

  • I always wonder what is meant when news stories write that some government official "pressured" another government's official. This part that is edited out or never pursued is quite important to understand what really happened.
  • This is about the government trying to keep Sun from going bankrupt and thousands of people loosing their jobs. How is this a bad thing?

  • The United States was founded by corporations. The declaration of independence was done because Britain wanted to eliminate (some) tax breaks for big corps. It's no wonder the corps chose a form of government that would champion their interests (and it has).

Disks travel in packs.