Oracle Takeover of Sun Faces Antitrust Hurdle

by CXOtoday Staff    Oct 21, 2009

Oracle Corp’s plan to acquire open source database MySQL through its takeover of Sun Microsystems is facing resistance from two technology and consumer groups which have expressed concerns over the MySQL platform.

The concern involves fears that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison may hinder MySQL’s development.

"If Oracle is allowed to acquire MySQL, it will predictably limit the development of the functionality and performance of the MySQL software platform, leading to profound harm to those who use MySQL software to power applications," they wrote.

They said Oracle was likely to protect its core product, the Oracle proprietary database, from losing market share and shrinking licensing fees at the expense of MySQL.

In a letter to the competition commissioner dated Oct. 19, digital civil liberties organisation Open Rights Group, non-governmental intellectual property organisation Knowledge Ecology International and software developer Richard Stallman said they shared the same concerns.

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) is an independent legal organisation that lobbies for free software in government, open access for the Internet and social issues. Stallman is the creator of GNU, a widely used free operating system.

The European Commission, which recently expressed concern that the acquisition could hinder competition in the database market, is probing Oracle’s $7 billion takeover of Sun. It is expected to give its decision by Nov. 19 on whether to approve the deal.

MySQL competes mainly against Microsoft Corp’s SQL Server and is used to run websites operated by companies including Google, Facebook and Amazon.com. Its main customers are small and mid-sized businesses.