Oracle gets more time to defend Sun buy

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Oracle gets more time to defend Sun buy

The European Commission (EC) has granted Oracle extra time to respond to its anti-trust concerns over the US$7.4bn ($8.1bn) acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

“Oracle requested the extension in order to have the opportunity to develop its arguments,” said the EC.

The EC’s concerns are listed as a Statement of Objections, issued on the 9 November.

Oracle was requested to respond to the objections by the 19 January, but has now been given an extra six days, until the 27 January.

The main objection held by the EC is over Oracle, the largest proprietary database vendor, buying Sun, the owner of MySQL - the most popular open source database in the market.

Oracle has argued it will not threaten the market’s competition because its own database products are aimed at a different type of customer to Sun’s.

However many commentators are urging Oracle to agree to sell MySQL to a third party so the deal can finally be approved.

Sun desperately needs the deal to go through as it continues to lose revenue to rivals IBM and HP.

Sun’s customers have also been left in a state of bewilderment while the deal is debated as they are uncertain of Oracle’s plans for the open-source firm’s product development.

Oracle’s critics are now arguing the extension period is a sign of Oracle backtracking on its previous remarks that the EC’s actions are unlikely to harm its acquisition procedure.

"If the EU's objections were baseless, Oracle wouldn't need more time now to develop its arguments,” said Florian Mueller, a MySQL shareholder who has long opposed Oracle’s plans to acquire the open source database.

“One more week won't change the fact that MySQL competes fiercely with Oracle's database products including its flagship '11g' across all major markets,” he said.

“The best way Oracle can make use of this extra week is to think really hard about selling MySQL to a suitable third party."

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