EU to Investigate Oracle’s Acquisition of MySQL

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EU Oracle MySQLJust when you thought everything was quiet in Europe, the EU Commission strikes back. Now that Microsoft has been forced into submission, they’ve turned their sights on Oracle and will examine the company’s intentions for MySQL.

The Commission regulators have expressed “serious concerns” that the deal could result in higher prices for database software. Oracle made their fortune from database products and is the world’s second largest enterprise software company. The EU is concerned that Oracle could damage the development and distribution of MySQL — the world’s most popular open-source database system.

According to Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition:

The Commission has to examine very carefully the effects on competition in Europe when the world’s leading proprietary database company proposes to take over the world’s leading open-source database.

Oracle acquired MySQL following a surprise $7.4 billion takeover of Sun Microsystems in April 2009 after negotiations with IBM broke down. The deal gives Oracle full control over Sun’s hardware and backup solutions, the Java programming language, VirtualBox Virtual Machine software, and OpenOffice — the open-source office suite. The company intends to transform itself into a comprehensive systems provider and compete directly with IBM and HP.

The EU investigation will delay the Sun takeover for at least 90 days. We’ll need to wait a little longer to find out MySQL’s fate.

Will Oracle continue to support MySQL development? Does the deal mark the beginning of the end for the database? Is the EU Commission right to meddle in Oracle’s affairs?

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Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
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Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

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