Europe Objects to Oracle Buying Sun

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The European Commission has filed a “statement of objections” to Oracle‘s planned takeover of Sun Microsystems, saying the takeover would give Oracle too much influence over the market for database product by putting the company in charge of both its own proprietary database systems as well as the open source MySQL database owned by Sun.

The statement is part of a preliminary assessment of the Oracle-Sun deal that the EC launched back in September, and does not represent any sort of final ruling on whether the European Commission will approve the merger. However, it does indicate what the EC is thinking…and that along is enough to get a response out of Oracle, which immediately issued a statement saying the acquisition will not reduce competition in any way, including in the database market.

“The database market is intensely competitive with at least eight strong players, including IBM, Microsoft, Sybase, and three distinct open source vendors,” Oracle wrote in its statement. “Oracle and MySQL are very different database products. There is no basis in European law for objecting to a merger of two among eight firms selling differentiated products.”

Oracle says it plans to “vigorously oppose” the Commission’s statement with “overwhelming” evidence that the Sun acquisition will not harm competition, and notes the delay in approving the transaction creates uncertainty and trepidation amongst Sun (and MySQL’s) existing customers.

Oracle had hoped to complete the Sun acquisition by August. The EC currently plans to complete wits investigation by mid-January, 2010.

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