This doesn’t look like its going to end any other way but badly

News from the EU regulators. They are objecting to the hookup between Sun and Oracle.

Whether or not their objections have merit … their focus appears to be a loss of competition to Oracle from the “loss” of an independent MySQL … this is not good for Sun.

There are 2 possible outcomes from the EU at the end of the process. They will either accept the acquisition, or disallow it. If they disallow it, Sun is in trouble. Serious existential trouble.

If the EU regulators take their time in thinking about this, Oracle is going to revert to business form, look at the cratering value of their proposed acquisition, and ask whether or not the process and pain is worth the smaller value. Oracle could walk away. Yeah, Sun would sue, but … how long could they hold on … Oracle need only delay long enough. If this happens, Sun is in a similar, if not worse, existential, trouble.

If the EU regulators allow this transaction, quickly, Oracle may still need to reduce its offer.

I just can’t see this ending well, for anyone.

This said, not having seen the EU objection, and having a healthy dose of skepticism, I am not sure exactly what they are objecting to. But that may not be important. What is important is that the delay causes further uncertainty. Uncertainty kills business.

Thats why I can’t see it ending well. They are talking Jan 16th 2010 for a decision. How long can Sun last burning through cash, with cratering revenue, and aggressive competitors?

I sympathize with the Sun employees. Having been on another sinking ship at SGI in the late 90’s, I have a good sense of what they are going through.

I remember what pushed me to make the decision that I should leave. I was at a customer site talking to them about the product at the time, and the customer interrupted, and said something like “thats great. Prove to me you are going to be in business next week.”

I didn’t have an answer for them (we wound up losing that to HP as I remember). I didn’t have an idea of what was happening next. When I left a few weeks later, the stock hit $0.31 within a few weeks. They didn’t completely crater, that took a few years more.

Sun employees, some of whom I count among friends, acquaintances, former colleagues … have got to be thinking “whats next”. The trajectory isn’t good, and there is lots of momentum behind it.

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