MySQL is in safe hands with Oracle, at least according to CEO Larry Ellison.
At an industry gathering in Silicon Valley Monday, the Oracle chief spoke about the legal clouds hovering over the Sun-Oracle deal. Although Sun is losing $100 million a month due to the delay in consummating the merger, he insisted that Oracle will not spin off MySQL just to win approval from the EU.
Interviewed at a Churchill Club event by former Sun and Motorola chief Ed Zander, Ellison maintained that despite EU concerns, Oracle's database does not compete with MySQL.
"MySQL and Oracle do not compete at all," said Ellison. "If you look at where we compete it's with DB2, Microsoft's SQL Server, Sybase, and a long list of others. We never compete against mySQL, it addresses very different markets."
Ellison pointed out that the U.S. Justice Department has already okayed the merger as pro-competition and that once the EU does its job, it will come to the same conclusion. He expressed the need to complete the deal quickly to keep Sun going and to save as many jobs as possible. "The longer this takes, the more money Sun is going to lose," said the CEO.
Ellison also addressed concerns that Oracle might jettison Sun's hardware business.
"We are keeping everything," said Ellison. "We're keeping tape. We're keeping storage. We're keeping x86 technology and SPARC technology--and we're going to increase the investment in it. Sun has fantastic technology. We think it's got great microprocessor technology--it needs a little more investment, but we think it can be extremely competitive."
The Oracle chief laid out his plans for the future of a combined Sun-Oracle. He sees the new entity as not a hardware or software vendor, but as a systems company. As a leading example to follow, he cited the old IBM.
"I would like us to be the successor to IBM," he said. "Not Gerstner's IBM. Not Palmisano's IBM. But when IBM was the dominant software company in the world and translated that to being the dominant systems company."
Now Ellison believes he can successfully compete with IBM. "We think with the combination of Sun technology and Oracle technology we can succeed and beat IBM," he said, "That's our goal."
Ellison also countered the claim that HP and IBM have taken advantage of the regulatory confusion to steal customers from Sun.
"IBM said it's got 250 customers from Sun," Ellison said. "What does that mean? I don't think there's a single example of any customer who replaced all their Sun machines with IBM. Solaris is way better than AIX, and Sun machines are faster than IBM's and they cost less."
How much longer will Ellison extend his 32-year career at the helm of the company he co-founded? "I'll go for five more years and see how it's going," he said.
The $7.4 billion Sun-Oracle merger has been in a holding pattern since the EU opened an in-depth investigation earlier this month. The EU has given itself a deadline of mid-January to render a final decision, potentially putting the deal months behind its original closing date of mid August.