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11/24/2009
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Senators Urge EU To Finish Oracle Sun Probe

With Sun jobs at stake, U.S. lawmakers want the European Commission to speed up its antitrust investigation.

A group of U.S. Senators led by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has urged the European Commission to speed up its investigation of Oracle's planned $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems, citing concerns that a delay could result in additional layoffs of Sun's workforce.

The 59 lawmakers sent a letter to the European Union's regulatory agency Tuesday. "Sun Microsystems' financial position has become more precarious and the commission's inquiry has continued," the letter states. "Some have raised concerns over the company's ability to continue to employ its thousands of workers. Accordingly, we respectfully request the European Commission complete its investigation of this transaction as quickly as possible."

The investigation, which is currently scheduled to end Jan. 27, centers primarily on whether Sun's open source MySQL will be anticompetitive because it will be offered by Oracle, which offers the leading proprietary enterprise database software.

The EC and the U.S. Department of Justice often see eye-to-eye on antitrust matters, but they may not in this case. Earlier this month, the DOJ's antitrust division sided with Oracle and Sun after examining the issues involved. Concluding that the acquisition would unlikely to be anticompetitive, the antitrust division noted that there were many open source and proprietary competitors in the database area.

The DOJ division concluded by stating, "Consumer harm is unlikely because customers would continue to have choices from a variety of well established and widely accepted database products."

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