EU at odds with US over Oracle antitrust probe

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The European Commission's antitrust investigation into Oracle's intended $7.8 billion takeover of Sun is continuing despite US regulators giving it the green light.

After an investigation into if Java licensing could be abused by Oracle, the DoJ gave its blessing to the deal back in August.

EU legal eagles continue to investigate the extent to which Sun's MySQL database competes with Oracle's own products. The commission informed the two companies yesterday of its concerns over the merger. European Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd observed that it was 'unusual' that the US Department of Justice had chosen to comment on the European investigation.

"I cannot recall any instance when the Commission has remarked on an on-going investigation in another jurisdiction," he said.

altThe DoJ maintains it has 'fully considered' database competition and reckoned it wasn't a problem because users would still have a choice of products.

Oracle has blasted the EU's stance, issuing a possibly ill-advised statement saying that the commission was demonstrating 'a profound misunderstanding of both database competition and open-source dynamics.'

The EU spokesman tactfully replied that Oracle's objections were 'superficial', observing that while Oracle's dominance in the proprietary database market was fine while there was an open source alternative, ceding control of that code to Oracle would be 'a major competitive constraint'.

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