Undaunted by European Union concerns over Oracle's proposed ownership of the open source MySQL database, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison insisted Monday that he would not spin off MySQL to get EU approval of Oracle's planned acquisition of Sun Microsystems and that Oracle's database does not compete with MySQL.
Ellison, in an interview before a gathering of industry dignitaries in San Jose, Calif., also laid out his vision of Oracle following in the footsteps of one-time IBM President Thomas Watson Jr.'s IBM and serving as a complete systems company.
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Appearing at a Churchill Club event and interviewed by former Motorola and Sun executive Ed Zander, Ellison emphasized that Oracle competes with databases such as Microsoft SQL Server and IBM DB2 but not MySQL. "We never compete against MySQL. [Oracle and MySQL] are both called databases; they address different markets," Ellison said.
"No, we're not going to spin it off," even if asked to by the EU, Ellison said. The EU is concerned about Oracle simultaneously owning MySQL, the leading open source database, and its own Oracle enterprise commercial database.
U.S. regulators have found the merger to be pro-competition and already approved it, Ellison said. "I think once [EU regulators] do their job, they're going to come to the same conclusion," he said.
Ellison expressed the urgent need to complete the $7.4 billion merger, which was announced in April. "Sun is losing $100 million a month," Ellison said. "We'd like to get this done." He stressed that Oracle wants "to save as many jobs as we can" via the merger.
With the Sun acquisition, which marks Oracle's major foray into computer hardware, Oracle hopes to mimic the dominance of Thomas Watson Jr.'s IBM, Ellison said. Watson Jr. was elected president of IBM in 1952, later became chairman, and stepped down as chairman and CEO in 1971.
"That's when IBM was really the dominant software company," Ellison said.
Oracle, he said, does not wish to compete with the likes of Dell. "We have a deep interest in the systems business," delivering hardware and software combinations that can be the backbone of most enterprises in America and the world, Ellison said.
"We're very interested in running airline reservation systems and we're very interested in running banking systems and telecommunications systems and that require both hardware and software," said Ellison. IBM is the company Oracle wants to compete with, he said.