EU regulator ‘optimistic’ about Oracle resolution

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s top antitrust official said Wednesday she was “still optimistic” that regulators could resolve a bitter dispute over an EU investigation into Oracle Corp.’s planned takeover of Sun Microsystems Inc.

The two companies had hoped to close the $7.4 billion deal this summer but EU objections have held up the deal for months while Sun hemorrhages money and sheds jobs.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said she hoped regulators and Oracle “could reach a satisfactory outcome to ensure that there is no adverse impact on effective competition on the European market.”

The EU regulators have been concerned that Oracle would gain too much control over the database software market if it buys Sun’s open source-based MySQL, which regulators claim will increasingly pose a threat to Sun’s proprietary database programs.

Oracle says it does not want to sell MySQL — a solution for many companies running into similar problems with the EU commission. Sun paid $1 billion for MySQL last year.

It is unclear whether Oracle could make other commitments to resolve the EU’s worries. Regulators say they fear Oracle could refuse to license MySQL to some companies or for some uses in order to favor its own software — which could limit customer choice and ultimately raise prices.

The commission has until Jan. 27 to make a final decision.

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