EU rebuffs Oracle's criticism of Sun merger investigation

Observers expect a "bare-knuckle fight" between Oracle and the Commission over the inclusion of MySQL in the Sun deal

In an unusually blunt rebuff, the European Commission has dismissed as "facile and superficial" criticism of its decision to issue formal objections to Oracle's planned acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

The Commission sent a statement of objections to Oracle and Sun late Monday because it believes the tie-up would result in Oracle cornering the market for database software. Oracle is in its own right the largest player in the database market, ahead of rivals IBM and Microsoft. The Sun deal would hand it Sun's MySQL, an open source database tool which is stealing market share from all three.

"Despite MySQL being open source, Oracle would be the exclusive holder of copyright on the MySQL code, making it hard for competitors to do what they want with it," said Commission spokesman on competition matters, Jonathan Todd said on Tuesday.

While Oracle is the leading proprietary database vendor, MySQL is the leading open source vendor "and a particularly important force in the market now," he added.

Reacting to the statement of objections it received late Monday, Oracle had insisted the deal "doesn't threaten to reduce competition in the slightest, including in the database market."

"It is well understood by those knowledgeable about open source software that because MySQL is open source, it cannot be controlled by anyone. That is the whole point of open source," Oracle said.

Oracle claims MySQL doesn't compete in the high-end server market made up of banks and similar organizations requiring superfast and secure database access, and instead it is used by websites and other less critical clients.

"Given the lack of any credible theory or evidence of competitive harm, we are confident we will ultimately obtain unconditional clearance of the transaction," the company said.

Those comments provoked Todd's outburst Tuesday. Normally the Commission doesn't make any comment at all when it issues a statement of objections in a merger review.

Last week, a source close to Oracle warned that if a statement of objections was issued it would be "gloves off time".

"Looks like we are in for a bare-knuckle fight over the inclusion of MySQL in the deal," said one person close to the Commission who is following the merger review closely.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Sun Microsystemseuropean commisionOracleMergers and acquisitions

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Meller

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?