EC’s fears for MySQL holding up Oracle / Sun deal

Reports say the EC may demand that the open source database is spun-off before granting Oracle’s proposed acquisition anti-trust approval

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The European Commission is withholding approval for software giant Oracle’s proposed acquisition of systems vendor Sun Microsystems due to concerns about the future of MySQL, the open source database system developed by a company of the same name which Sun acquired in 2008.

According to a report from financial news site MarketWatch, the Open Database Alliance which campaigns for MySQL to be maintained as an open source project, says the EC approached them to enquire how the deal would affect competition in the database market.

The report suggests the EC may demand that Oracle divests MySQL in the event of a deal, citing investment analyst sources. A report from financial news service Barron's makes the same claim.

As reported in Information Age’s recent feature ‘Database Wars Revisited’, Oracle has yet to reveal its intentions for MySQL. Some observers believe Oracle’s acquisition of Sun maybe in part motivated by the ability it would grant the company to kill off an emerging competitor to its own database business. However, open source software now plays a pivotal role in enterprise IT, and Oracle could well use MySQL profitability.  

Oracle appears unfazed by the doubt cast over the deal by the EC: later today the company will unveil the first piece of combined Oracle / Sun hardware, an ‘online transaction processing’ (OLTP) database appliance.