September 4, 2009, 10:10 am
When the European Commission isn't occupied with important duties such as regulating banana curvature, it likes to turn its attention to large companies with significant market share. EU regulators are concerned about the implications of Oracle's pending acquisition of Sun, a $7.4 billion deal that could significantly reshape the enterprise IT market. The EC has temporarily halted the acquisition and is preparing to launch an antitrust inquiry to determine if the sale should be permitted to go forward.
At the heart of the controversy is MySQL, the popular open source database software that Sun acquired last year. EC commissioner Neelie Kroes says that the absorption of leading open source database software by a company that sells competing proprietary database requires close scrutiny. Specifically, the commissioner fears that Oracle will discontinue ongoing development of MySQL, reducing the choices that are available to consumers and potentially forcing users to buy the database giant's more costly enterprise solutions.