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EU officially objects to Sunacle deal

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The European Union has officially raised objection to Oracle's proposed $7.4bn acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

According to a Sun Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the EU issued a "statement of objections" involving the merger today, and these objections were limited to concerns over Oracle acquiring MySQL.

"The Statement of Objections sets out the Commission's preliminary assessment regarding, and is limited to, the combination of Sun's open source MySQL database product with Oracle's enterprise database products and its potential negative effects on competition in the market for database products," the filing says.

Oracle responded with a statement that the EU's assessment "reveals a profound misunderstanding of both database competition and open source dynamics. 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."

The US Department of Justice - which has already approved the deal - also issued a statement reiterating its stance. "After conducting a careful investigation of the proposed transaction between Oracle and Sun, the Department's Antitrust Division concluded that the merger is unlikely to be anticompetitive," the DoJ said.

"This conclusion was based on the particular facts of the transaction and the Division's prior investigations in the relevant industries. The investigation included gathering statements from a variety of industry participants and a review of the parties' internal business documents. At this point in its process, it appears that the EC holds a different view. We remain hopeful that the parties and the EC will reach a speedy resolution that benefits consumers in the Commission's jurisdiction."

In its statement, Oracle went on to argue that Oracle and MySQL are "very different database products" in a market that includes six other major players. "There is no basis in European law for objecting to a merger of two among eight firms selling differentiated products. Mergers like this occur regularly and have not been prohibited by United States or European regulators in decades." ®

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