MySQL creator says 14,000 against Oracle-Sun deal
HELSINKI/BOSTON (Reuters) - Michael Widenius, the creator of the MySQL database and a vocal opponent of Oracle Corp's (ORCL.O) $7 billion takeover of Sun Microsystems Inc JAVA.O, has handed 14,000 signatures opposing the deal to regulators in Europe, China and Russia.
Widenius, one of the most respected developers of open-source software, left Sun last year to set up database firm Monty Program Ab, which competes directly with MySQL.
The European Commission initially objected to Oracle's acquisition of Sun, saying it was concerned Oracle's takeover of the MySQL database could hurt competition in that market.
But the Commission signaled in mid-December that it would likely clear the deal after some of Oracle's largest customers said they believed the takeover would not hurt competition. Since then, Oracle has said it expects to win unconditional EU clearance to close the deal by the end of January.
Widenius, who delivered the signatures on Monday, said he would continue to gather signatures until the commission makes a final ruling, which is due by January 27.
"Our signatories don't have faith that Oracle could be a good steward of MySQL," Widenius said in a statement.
Still, Beau Buffier, a partner in the anti-trust practice of law firm Shearman & Sterling, said signature drives carry little weight with the commission.
He said regulators generally want each person who weighs in on pending cases to provide specifics on how an acquisition might affect their particular business.
"What you would need is detailed statements from significant developers," he said.
More than 5,000 signatures are from self-employed developers and more than 3,000 from employees of companies and other organizations using MySQL, according to Widenius.
He did not disclose the names of the people who signed the petition.
The signatures were gathered during the first week of the campaign and were delivered to the European Commission and other European institutions, including the European Parliament and the competition authorities of the 27 member states, as well as to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service.
Officials with Oracle, the world's No. 3 software maker, and Sun, the No. 4 server maker, declined comment.
The acquisition will transform Oracle from a maker of software into a technology powerhouse that sells computers and storage equipment preloaded with its programs.
Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison is betting the combination will give his company an edge over rivals such as IBM Corp (IBM.N), Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and EMC Corp (EMC.N).
Sun bought MySQL for $1 billion in 2008.
(Reporting by Jim Finkle and Tarmo Virki; editing by John Stonestreet and Andre Grenon)
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