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EU Sets Hearing on Oracle-Sun

Examining one of the largest tech mergers in recent memory, regulators for the European Union have set Dec. 10 as the date of a hearing on the acquisition of Sun Microsystems (JAVA) by Oracle Corp.. Announced in April, the $7.1 billion purchase would give Oracle, the world’s No. 3 software company, new reach into computer hardware as well as the MySQL database and control of the Java programming language.

The EU has objected to a possible monopoly, or duopoly, in the database software market if the deal goes through. The primary competitor to MySQL is SQL Server, from Microsoft (MSFT).

“Oracle will present to European Union regulators on Dec. 10 its case for buying … Sun,” reported Reuters, citing “two people with knowledge of the matter.”

The acquisition of Sun would also give Oracle, which has announced its intention to become a major provider of on-demand software-as-a-service, new networking muscle. A venerable maker of “Big Iron” computing equipment, Sun had been moving toward a lower-cost, lower-risk cloud computing model before poor results drove it into a sale.

The Justice Department approved the deal in August. Winning EU approval will likely be tougher.

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