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The Obama administration helped push through approval of Oracle's Sun acquisition.  (Source: All Things Digital)

Oracle gave President Obama $80k in direct donations during his 2008 campaign, and Oracle employees, including numerous executives, pitched in another $240k. Those contributions represent a small, but significant chunk of the $750M needed for Obama to get elected into office.  (Source: AP)
Oracle Affiliates Gave Obama $320K+, Leaked Cables Reveal Quid Pro Quo

The Obama administration is facing some tough questions after Wikileaks published a fresh set of leaked State Department cables, which indicate that the U.S. applied pressure to the European Union to get the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle Corp. (ORCL) approved.

The first cable, sent by the administration's Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission to the European Union, Ambassador Christopher W. Murray, reads:

The Department of Justice/Antitrust views this matter as a high priority... Its senior officials and investigative staff are currently engaging productively and intensely with their DG COMP [EU Director-General for Competition] counterparts, and are in close touch with Oracle and Sun, in the hopes of preventing a divergent outcome.

The cable also suggests Sun would "go bankrupt" if the merger was denied and argued that despite the fact that Oracle's representatives were "unwilling or unable to make certain divestitures to satisfy the Commission's concerns", the deal should be approved anyhow.

A second memo from the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the USTR (United States Trade Representative), the US National Security Council, the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Justice, and Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission pleaded with European Union competition commissioner Neelie Kroes to consider the merits of the deal to open source software.

Ms. Kroes responded that she sympathized with "the argument that open source software is by definition pro-competitive, since the theory is that everyone has access to it and can contribute to improving open source programs", but also realized that there are "subtle and complex counterarguments to this [argument]."

In the end, the European Union agreed to approve the merger several months after its American peers did.  And in the end the merger had a larger destructive effect on open source software, as Oracle has tried to aggressively monetize its new holdings.

The purchase granted Oracle control over many open source projects/"open" software projects, including Java.  While it has since "freed" at least one of these projects (OpenOffice), it's used its ownership of Java as a means to sue the world's best-selling smartphone platform, Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system.

So why did the Obama administration want the Oracle deal approved so badly?  Well, the move was likely partially designed to save jobs and save face from American agencies that would be embarrassed if Europe rejected the deal they had approved.  

While Obama administration is often maligned for being allegedly "anti-business", he accepted numerous large corporate campaign donations during his campaign and has pushed to preserve tax loopholes that allow some of America's largest corporations like General Electric to pay virtually no taxes (or even get grants), a privilege most smaller businesses don't have the influence to gain and enjoy.  In fact, Obama accepted $245,000+ USD in campaign donations from Oracle employees, including many of the company's executives, and almost $80,000 USD more in donations from the company.




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