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September 4, 2009

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EU starts probe into software takeover

EUROPEAN Union regulators yesterday launched an antitrust investigation into United States software maker Oracle Corp's takeover of Sun Microsystems Inc, saying the deal could mean higher prices and limited choice for customers.
EU approval is now the main stumbling block for the US$7.4 billion deal which has already been cleared in the US by the Department of Justice.
The European Commission now has 90 days - until January 19, 2010 - before it makes a final decision to clear the deal or block it. It often presses companies to make changes that eliminate antitrust worries.
EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said regulators needed to examine the effect of a deal "when the world's biggest proprietary database company proposes to take over the world's leading open-source database company." She said the EU executive wanted to check that customers won't see less choice or higher prices.
The EU described the database market as "highly concentrated" with the three main proprietary software companies - Oracle, IBM and Microsoft - controlling some 85 percent of the market by revenue.


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