IT LOOKS LIKE ORACLE is not going to get an easy ride from european regulators over its purchase of Sun, which the EU Competition Commission thinks could be bad for open sauce.
According to a statement from the commission, it has opened an in-depth investigation into the planned acquisition under the EU Merger Regulation.
Apparently an initial market investigation indicated that the proposed acquisition raised serious doubts as to its compatibility with the Single Market.
Basically the EU is worried that Oracle might have a little bit too much control over the database market.
The commission says that it is not prejudging the matter and will not make a ruling until it has the final result of its investigation. It has 90 working days or until January 19 to present a report to the world.
EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said that 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.
It is worried that customers would face reduced choices or higher prices as a result of this takeover.
Since databases are a key element of both public and business IT systems, the Oracle move could really stuff up the European economy, particularly when economic conditions are a bit fragile.
If a merged Oracle-Sun company decided to walk away from open source then the EU could be left without cost-effective IT solutions and systems based on open source software.
"The Commission has to ensure that such alternatives would continue to be available," Kroes said.
The EU feels that the database market is highly concentrated with the three main competitors in proprietary databases - Oracle, IBM and Microsoft - together having 85 per cent of the market.
Oracle is the market leader in proprietary databases, while Sun's MySQL database product is the leading open source database.
The Commission's preliminary market investigation has shown that the Oracle databases and Sun's MySQL compete directly in many sectors of the database market and that MySQL is widely expected to represent a greater competitive constraint as it becomes increasingly functional, Kroes said.
The Commission's investigation has also shown that the open source nature of Sun's MySQL might not fully eliminate the potential for anti-competitive effects.
In its in-depth investigation, the Commission will need to look at Oracle's incentive to further develop MySQL as an open source database, she said. µ
Upcoming flagships might not switch to USB-C after all
Netflix without the chill
The best things come in the same sized package as last time
'Open source' and 'Microsoft' in same sentence shock