Former MySQL CEO represents Oracle at EC hearing?

Avatar von Björn Schotte

I just came across several blog posts regarding the Oracle/Sun/MySQL war, including this one. There are a lot of interesting clarifications and opinions, but I want to highlight this comment from MySQL’s founder Monty about Mårten Mickos which is worth reading. One excerpt:

That could however explain why he [Mårten] is now so eager to help Oracle buy MySQL and even represented Oracle at the EC hearing.

MySQL’s former CEO representing Oracle in the EC hearing? Is it because Mårten converted to the dark side of the planet or is it because he believes MySQL will have a great future under Oracle’s umbrella? Or has it to do with stock options as Monty’s comment suggests?


UPDATE: Mårten clarifies in this comment that he participated in the EU hearing and represented only himself. Furthermore he says he has no financial or other ties to any of the companies represented there.

Avatar von Björn Schotte


14 Antworten zu „Former MySQL CEO represents Oracle at EC hearing?“

  1. Nope — You read it wrong.

    Marten has said on Twitter and elsewhere:

    „I own no shares or options in Sun any longer, nor do I have any other financial interest in Sun or Oracle.“

    And Monty says he has no reason to not believe him. (Double negative meaning Monty does believe him.)

    I think „supported“ is a better English word than „represented“.


    1. Thank you for clarification – it wasn’t meant as FUD, I just found it interesting what has been written as a comment on the blog entry and I was wondering why Mårten represented Oracle at the EC hearing (that he supported the merger has been clear since he posted that on twitter weeks ago).

      1. I don’t know what exactly „represanting Oracle“ means, but he probably was there since he was a long-time CEO of an open source database company and has lot’s of insights in the open source database market? – He should be one of the people knowing market opportunities best. And I’m quite sure the EC knows quite well about commercial interests of the representatives.

        Oh and for the EC it should be easy to verify stock related interest.

    2. No, represented is correct, he was formally part of the Oracle team, both speaking and advising.

      This is similar to how Carlo Piana is working for Oracle, and there is of course nothing wrong with it, both sides can use lawyers and advisors, it doesn’t automatically make them bad persons.

      (To compare, Eben Moglen from the SFLC was there as an interested third party.)

      1. Henrik,

        I beg to differ from your recount of the role of Mr. Mickos, having first hand information about it. While, as you reckon, it would have been entirely appropriate if he had actually advised Oracle, as many of us have — me included, and I think for good reasons — I strongly believe it is plainly inaccurate to say that Mr. Mickos has acted in such position.

        His position was not different from the others that have spoken up to defend the merger and to urge clearance. I have no reasons to believe — from my direct experience of being directly involved during the entire process — that any of them have appeared for reasons different from those that have been stated at the hearing, just as much as you and a few others on the opponents‘ side have done (with perhaps the single exception of Microsoft).

        People could be on the opposite sides with identically honest motives. It is far from me arguing that one person is bad or good from the stance she or he has taken on this or other cases, as a few of Free Software activists I immensely respect have camped on either side.

        I hope that when this heated dispute is over — better sooner than later — we all can work again on the same side for the good of MySQL as a (pure?) Free Software product.

        1. Hi Carlo

          You know perfectly well I cannot in public go into more details on why it seems to me entirely clear that Mårten was an advisor to Oracle, but in any case clearly his role was not the same as those customers whom I would agree were more or less just witnesses. (But even they, as you remember, formally „represented“ Oracle, which is more of a technicality on how Oracle handled the process.)

          Like you say, it is not a big deal to me that he was there doing what he did, it just seems curious that there is an attempt to deny it.

      2. Avatar von Marten Mickos
        Marten Mickos


        Please withdraw and correct your following statement which is incorrect and false:

        „No, represented is correct, he was formally part of the Oracle team, both speaking and advising.“


  2. „…Is it because Mårten converted to the dark side of the planet..“

    That would be ‚…dark side of the force…‘, actually.

  3. Avatar von Marten Mickos
    Marten Mickos

    Clarification to all:

    I indeed participated in the EU hearing last week. I did so as what I would consider an expert witness, representing myself and nothing but myself. I have no financial or other ties to any of the companies represented or heard at the hearing.

    I volunteered to attend the hearing in Brussels because I felt that Sun and its MySQL team were unjustly suffering under a bizarre and prolonged debate on which the vast majority of independent industry experts agrees: there is no rational reason to prohibit Oracle from acquiring all of Sun.

    Kind regards,


    1. Hi Marten

      I realize you’d like to downplay this, but let’s at least call a spade a spade. You certainly did more there than the other „expert witnesses“ who were just yawning in the back row all day. And imho you probably were more useful than most in the army of 50+ lawyers and other advisors Oracle had there (if anything, they should have listened to you even more than they did…).

      I’m not speculating on your motives, I trust you don’t have options or stock, but you can’t go around saying you weren’t there working for Oracle. You made your choices, now stand proudly behind them at least!

      1. Avatar von Marten Mickos
        Marten Mickos


        I beg you to not project indiscriminately your own impressions or biases on the world around you, but to take my statements for the honest expressions they are.

        Perhaps you cannot conceive of a difference between „working for Oracle“ and „working for the truth“, but I can.

        My sole interest and purpose in joining the hearing was to dissolve some of the misunderstandings that had plagued the probe and the debate for some time – misunderstandings that keep destroying value in the industry to this day.

        (Of course I may myself be prone to misunderstandings and errors, and that’s of course why the EU Commission listened to a whole number of sources of information.)

        I have never heard that you must yawn in the back row in order to qualify as an expert witness.

        I hope that I was „useful“. That was the purpose of my appearance there.

        In conclusion, I can very much say that I wasn’t (and am not) working for Oracle, because that is the truth. I would wish that people would respect the integrity of my statements. I don’t make them lightly.


        P.S. Instead of accusing me of working for Oracle, what if you yourself would for once consider the possibility presented by most industry experts that Oracle’s arguments in this case are on solid ground (which could explain why Oracle and I seemed to be in agreement), and that it actually may be the opponents who should call a spade a spade and be open about their intentions and affiliations?

        1. Hi Mårten

          I have never implied or even thought to myself that „working for“ Oracle, „helping out“, „advising“, „being useful“, whatever you may call it… would be against your own convictions or „working for the truth“ as you say. I don’t even think you have in this process said or written anything that would be factually wrong – which btw positively distinguishes you from the crowd! (For the things you state as beliefs or opinions there is no point in arguing, as those are both subjective
          and even change over time.) I have never said that a person working
          (or something less formal) for Oracle is categorically on „the dark side“, as some may joke about it. And I have always believed you when you say you don’t have a personal financial interest for your participation. (You are smart enough I fully believe you sold your Sun stock/options long ago!)

          For the above reasons, I also didn’t foresee that this would be such a sensitive issue to talk about. My original comment – which precedes any of yours – was only intended as clarification to people who weren’t personally present and wasn’t intended to imply anything negative about anyone, and I certainly haven’t accused you of anything. (but why would you use such a word?) But out of the respect I still have for you and your achievements, I am more than happy to cease talking about this in public.


  4. Avatar von Johann-Peter Hartmann
    Johann-Peter Hartmann

    just three small notes:

    these blog postings do not show the opinion of mayflower, it’s bjoerns personal point of view.

    I know a lot of mysql people for years now, and „doing it for his personal stock options“ does not sound very marten.

    Of course i’d like to see the crusade of opensource databases continued, but right now there is no reason to believe that mysql as the most important open source database will play a less important role when owned by oracle.

    Johann-Peter Hartmann
    (just another CEO of mayflower :-), and mysql fanboy for years)

  5. I just came across several blog posts regarding the Oracle/Sun/MySQL war, including this one. There are a lot of interesting clarifications and opinions, but I want to highlight this comment from MySQL’s founder Monty about Mårten Mickos which is worth

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