EU clears Oracle/Sun deal

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The European Union has given its approval to Orcale’s purchase of Sun Microsystems, the owners of several technologies like MySQL and Java, after finalising its investigation that was opened in September of last year.

The investigation was launched to see if it would be an impediment of “effective competition” within the European Economic Area (EEA), a free-trade agreement within the European Union and three other states – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It was mainly focused on the database market, as fears arose that Oracle’s ownership of Sun and MySQL would pose a threat to competition and the open-source database leader could be in jeopardy when Oracle took ownership.

“I am now satisfied that competition and innovation will be preserved on all the markets concerned. Oracle’s acquisition of Sun has the potential to revitalise important assets and create new and innovative products,” Neelie Kroes, the Competition Commissioner said in a statement.

In the statement, its investigation found that MySQL and Oracle are not “close competitors” despite competing in the database market and that the openness of MySQL allowed forking (branching off the MySQL base code) to compete with MySQL. It also took into account Oracle’s announcement that it will still release MySQL under the GPL open source license, and showed that PostgreSQL – a credible alternative to MySQL by many users in the open source world – could likely replace the competitive force that is exerted by MySQL.

During the investigation, effectively delaying it, Sun has been losing money – estimated to be around US$100 million per month – as its customers move to IBM and HP.

With the EU approval, along with the US Justice Department’s approval of the deal, China and Russia are set to approve the deal, meaning that the deal could close very shortly.

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