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Oracle-Sun Deal Gets Green Light

The European Commission today cleared Oracle's $7.4 billion agreement to acquire Sun Microsystems, paving the way for the two companies to close the deal.

Oracle is free to combine with Sun without any restrictions, meaning it does not have to spin off MySQL, Sun's open-source database that was the primary subject of the EC's review.

"Although MySQL and Oracle compete in certain parts of the database market, they are not close competitors in others, such as the high-end segment," the EC said in a statement. Even if Oracle were to impede the future of MySQL, there are viable open-source database alternatives, such as PostgreSQL, the EC noted, adding that so-called "forks" in the code-base of MySQL will allow for other open source alternatives.

One such alternative is the Open Database Alliance, launched last year by MySQL founder Monty Widenius. "Oracle's acquisition of Sun has the potential to revitalize important assets and create new and innovative products," EC competition commissioner Neelie Kroes, said in a statement.

Rivals such as IBM, VMware, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, have started preparing for a combined Oracle and Sun as a much larger competitor bringing together their respective hardware and software assets. Many have speculated the Oracle-Sun combination was among several reasons for last week's $250 million agreement between HP and Microsoft to work more closely on developing next-generation data center technology. Also last week, Microsoft began offering a MySQL migration tool for its SQL Server database.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison next Wednesday will outline the merged company's strategy during a five-hour presentation at its Redwood Shores, Calif. headquarters.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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