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Commission extends deadline

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The European Competition Commission is extending the deadline set for Oracle to provide evidence that its proposed takeover of Sun Microsystems will not damage competition for European consumers.

Oracle now has until 27 January to present its defence of the takeover and its reaction to the Commission's statement of objections. The Commission said Oracle “have the opportunity to further develop its arguments in relation to the Commission’s concerns”.

The deal has already been approved by US competition authorities. This fact, along with the extension, leads some to believe the EC is looking for a way out of the impasse. Unlike in the US, where Java was the worry, European competition officials are concerned about the future of open source database MySQL.

It would not be impossible for Oracle to fund some sort of arms length foundation to look after, and help develop, the software in order to placate Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

The Commission has several choices short of refusing to allow the takeover. It could ask for various different structural or behavioural remedies.

Oracle has been criticised for insisting on trying to push the deal through in a hurry. This led to lawyers presenting evidence to the Commission in August, when it is hard to find any serious or senior officials in Brussels - they're mostly at the beach.

The previous deadline was 19 January. ®

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