EU probes Oracle's bid to buy Sun
European Union regulators on Thursday launched an antitrust probe into US software maker Oracle Corp's takeover of Sun Microsystems Inc, saying the deal could mean higher prices and limited choice for database software.
EU approval is now the main stumbling block for the $7.4 billion deal which has already been cleared in the U.S. by the Department of Justice.
The European Commission now has 90 days - until Jan. 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 Thursday that 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 as a result - and was keen to make sure that open-source software continues to rival larger companies that develop their own code and don't share it with others.