Appeal lodged against EU approval of Oracle-Sun merger

Open-source developer Monty Widenius questions regulator's due diligence

Monty Widenius, a leading open-source software proponent, lodged an appeal on Friday against the European Union's antitrust authorities over their decision to green-light Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems at the beginning of this year.

The appeal was filed to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Widenius was one of the co-developers of MySQL, the open source database software owned by Sun, and now by Oracle.

The merger was completed on Jan. 27, just six days after the European Commission, Europe's top antitrust regulator, signed off on the deal. Widenius' appeal is not likely to have any bearing on the takeover itself, but may put pressure on the Commission for more transparency in its decision-making process.

During the investigation prior to the takeover, the Commission issued a formal statement of objections amid fears that competition in the market for database software would suffer. MySQL was one of the only rivals to the big three proprietary database makers -- Oracle, IBM and Microsoft.

However, in a remarkable move, the Commission decided to accept the companies' own promises that they would safeguard competition. Oracle and Sun committed to a series of undertakings, but these were not legally binding. Meanwhile Russian antitrust authorities demanded formal remedies before giving their go-ahead.

All parties have so far refused to comment.

Tags business issuesMergers / acquisitionsSun MicrosystemslegalOracle

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Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service

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