EU Warms to Sun Takeover Deal after Oracle Makes Concessions

Paul Lilly

For a long while, things weren't looking too hot for Oracle in its planned $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems. While the U.S. Department of Justice approved the deal, the European Union voiced serious displeasure over the idea of an Oracle-owned MySQL and threatened to block the deal.

That no longer looks to be the case. Now the European Commission is saying it feels "optimistic" that a deal between Oracle and Sun would no longer pose a threat to the European market for database software. So why the sudden about-face?

Oracle promised to preserve the viability of the free and open-source MySQL database application that it would acquire in the deal. According to a report in The New York Times, Oracle vowed to extend MySQL's existing commercial licenses for up to five years, while also making binding guarantees to companies and individuals that already use MySQL that it would not pursue intellectual property claims.

On top of it all, Oracle also said it would spend upwards of $72 million over the next three years in R&D to improve MySQL, negating any concerns that Oracle would turn a cold shoulder to the open-source database app in order to better sell its own paid software.

"Today's announcement by Oracle of a series of undertakings to customers, developers, and users of MySQL is an important new element to be taking into account in the ongoing proceedings," said Brussels' merger officials in a statement .

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