Feeds

Oracle-Sun merger faces full monopoly probe

Open-source concern, lawyer embarrassed

High performance access to file storage

Updated The proposed $7.4bn dollar merger takeover of Sun by Oracle is facing a full competition investigation by the European Commission.

Competition Commissioner 'Steelie' Neelie Kroes said:

The Commission has to examine very carefully the effects on competition in Europe when the world's leading proprietary database company proposes to take over the world's leading open source database company. In particular, the Commission has an obligation to ensure that customers would not face reduced choice or higher prices as a result of this takeover. Databases are a key element of company IT systems.

In the current economic context, all companies are looking for cost-effective IT solutions, and systems based on open-source software are increasingly emerging as viable alternatives to proprietary solutions. The Commission has to ensure that such alternatives would continue to be available.

The Commission described the database market as highly concentrated, with just three companies - IBM, Microsoft and Oracle - controlling 85 per cent of the market in revenue terms.

An initial investigation by competition regulators found sufficient overlap between Sun's MySQL and Oracle's products already. Furthermore the Commission expects MySQL to extend further into Oracle's market as its functionality improves.

Part of the investigation will be into "Oracle's incentive to further develop MySQL as an open source database".

The Commission investigation will not necessarily only lead to a refusal to block the deal. They could impose behavioural or structural remedies - force the merged company to sell off some of its businesses or impose restrictions on how it behaves.

Oracle's proposed acquisition has been approved by the US Department of Justice, although the DoJ had initially raised concern over licensing of Java.

A bullish Oracle attorney at the time dismissed the notion that concern over something as piffling as Java licensing might delay or derail the mighty deal, stressing its cordial dealings with the DoJ.

Counsel Dan Wall said Oracle has "a very good dialogue" with the DoJ and called licensing of Java "one narrow issue" "that is never going to get in the way of the deal."

"I fully expect that the investigation will end soon and not delay the closing of the deal this summer," he said.

With Wall's summer closure now in full retreat, Oracle responded to the Commission Thursday in a statement that took a decidedly less bullish tone.

Oracle stuck simply to the facts, saying the Commission had decided to seek more information by conducting a phase-two inquiry."Closing of the transaction is subject to certain conditions, including clearance by the European Commission," Oracle said soberly.

The giant re-iterated the deal has already been approved by the DoJ and Sun's stock holders.®

This article has been updated to include the statement by Oracle.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.