Oracle Gets US Approval for Sun Acquisition, Waits on Europe

Reuters reports this afternoon that Oracle Corporation won unrestricted US antitrust approval to buy computer maker Sun Microsystems.

Oracle wants to close all facets of the transaction by the end of this month. I don’t see how that can happen, though, because the takeover requires approval by the European Commission, which has said it will decide Sept. 3 whether to clear the acquisition or launch a detailed investigation that could extend well into the fall.

Originally announced in April, the deal has been held up by regulatory concerns about Oracle’s licensing plans for Sun’s Java programming language and about its ultimate plans for the open-source MySQL database.

Regulators apparently were concerned that Oracle might make licensing of Java more restrictive, punishing customers as well as competitors. With regard to MySQL, concerns relate to whether Oracle will de-emphasize it or phase it out altogether in deference to its proprietary database franchise.

While Oracle has been running the regulatory steeplechase, Sun’s hardware customers have been relentlessly wooed by HP and IBM, which have both enjoyed notable successes seducing Sun customers into their camps.

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