Oracle executives and their advisers on Thursday accused Europe’s top competition regulator of misrepresenting customer evidence as they tried to overturn objections to the US group’s proposed $7.4bn purchase of Sun Microsystems
Oral hearings, held in private, over the deal began in Brussels on Thursday morning and will continue on Friday.
Officials at the European Commission are concerned about the impact the merger could have on the database market – in particular Oracle’s control of MySQL
, an open source database company bought last year by Sun.
Although this is a relatively small part of the overall deal, critics say Oracle would have an incentive to suppress or restructure a product that is given away for free and poses a disruptive threat to its own business. The other big players in the market are IBM and Microsoft.
The Commission has based its concerns partly on the results of a market survey, and the responses generated from database users.
But on Thursday Oracle was understood to have argued that customer comments were misrepresented and cherry-picked. According to its reply to the Commission, which has been seen by the Financial Times and which formed the basis for Thursday’s presentation, Oracle claims “many if not most”of the two dozen customers cited in the Commission’s statement of objections “do not support the Commission’s theory of harm”.
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