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Oracle gets go ahead for Sun deal

European Commission gives permission to complete acquisition of Sun Microsystems

Oracle first announced its intention to buy Sun in April 2009.
Oracle first announced its intention to buy Sun in April 2009.

Oracle has finally received permission from the European Commission to complete its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

On Thursday the Commission announced that it was satisfied that the deal, which was first announced nine months ago, would not significantly impede effective competition in the database and Java markets.

Neelie Kroes, European Union competition commissioner, said in a statement: "I am now satisfied that competition and innovation will be preserved on all the markets concerned. Oracle's acquisition of Sun has the potential to revitalise important assets and create new and innovative products."

The Commission had investigated whether there was a conflict in Oracle acquiring Sun's MySQL open source database, owing to competition with Oracle's own database solutions, but has said that it was satisfied that the competition was not too close, and that other open source databases such as PostgreSQL would provide an alternative to SQL. The Commission was also convinced by Oracle's pledges to customers and developers of MySQL made in December.

The Commission also decided that intellectual property rights related to the Java development platform held by Sun, would not impact on the access to Java for Oracle competitors.

The approval of the deal has now raised the question of whether thousands of jobs may be at risk, in both supporting functions and in the core software business, particularly as Oracle has said that it intends to make $1.5 billion profit from Sun in the next year.

Al Gillen, a software analyst at market researcher IDC told USA Today: "You would expect some level of redundancy in accounting and marketing, for instance. On the hardware side, there is no overlap. But there is on the (operating systems) side. Oracle has to move quickly on this because Sun's business has meandered since Oracle announced its acquisition."