EU regulator lists objections to Oracle-Sun merger

Software major Oracle's proposed $7.4-billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems has run into troubled waters across the Atlantic after the European regulator issued a statement of objections yesterday, drawing criticism not only from Oracle but also the US regulator.

After the European Union's Brussels-based antitrust watchdog, the European Commission (EC), opened an in-depth investigation in September, it was widely expected that the regulator may issue formal objections this week since Oracle did not offer any concessions to the deal. (See: EU regulator may block Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems: report)

According to a filing by Sun with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the EC issued a formal charge sheet spelling out its concerns on the merger since the combination of Sun's open source MySQL database product with Oracle's enterprise database products could have potential negative effects on competition in the market for database products.

A Statement of Objections is a preparatory document that does not prejudge the EC's final decision. Any final decision by the EC is subject to appeal at the European Court of First Instance.

"The commission's statement of objections reveals a profound misunderstanding of both database competition and open-source dynamics," California-based Oracle said in a press release.

The company went on to say, ''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.