Oracle’s planned $7.4 billion purchase of Sun Microsystems appears to be close to gaining the approval of the European Union’s (EU) anti-trust regulators, after Oracle put forward a series of proposals to safeguard the MySQL database.

The protection of the open source database has been a bone of contention with the EU, which remains the last major roadblock in Oracle’s takeover of Sun. Some critics are looking for Oracle to spin off or outright sell the MySQL business.

Oracle tried to allay the anti-trust commission’s concerns this week by saying it would continue to enhance MySQL and release future versions under an open-source license. It published a 10-point list of pledges covering off such contentious issues as mandatory support.

“Customers will not be required to purchase support services from Oracle as a condition to obtaining a commercial license to MySQL,” the company stated as part of its “public” commitment. Another pledge promises to increase spending on MySQL development. “During each of the next three years, Oracle will spend more on research and development for the MySQL Global Business Unit than Sun spent in its most recent fiscal year ($24 million) preceding the closing of the transaction.”

Following Oracle’s pledges, the Commission issued a statement Monday saying that it had “engaged in constructive discussions with Oracle regarding the maintenance of MySQL as an important competitive force in the database market.” The statement went on to say that Oracle’s undertakings to customers, developers and users of MySQL “is an important new element to be taken into account in the ongoing proceedings.”

The statement also repeated Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes’ comment that she is optimistic the deal will go through.

A decision on whether to grant conditional approval to the acquisition is expected in the first half of January.


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