It had to happen didn't it? The European Commission (EC) has decided to investigate the proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle.
The primary concern is for competition in the database market. "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 company," said competition commissioner Neelie Kroes.
"In the current economic context, all companies are looking for cost-effective IT solutions, and systems based on open-source software are increasingly emerging as viable alternatives to proprietary solutions. The Commission has to ensure that such alternatives would continue to be available."
The worry is, as anticipated by HEXUS guest blogger Jo Shields when the acquisition was first announced, that Oracle will take all the yummy Sun open-source stuff, such as MySQL, in-house and reduce the alternatives to its database offerings.
The announcement points out that the proprietary database market is already highly concentrated, with Oracle, IBM and Microsoft controlling 85 percent of it. It doesn't mention the rest of the enterprise software market, where Oracle is also a huge player, but German software company SAP is Oracle's main competitor in many of those and must in the EC's thoughts to some extent.
The EC has until 19 January 2010 to make a final decision.