After months of careful review by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Oracle late on Thursday announced that the federal agency has given the company the green light to proceed with its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
Oracle has one more hurdle to clear, however: It must gain the approval of the European Union (EU) before the deal can be closed. EU officials indicated recently that they would issue their first opinion of the deal sometime in early September.
With Sun shareholders having approved the deal in mid-July by a comfortable margin, Oracle was hoping the DOJ would forgo its mandated waiting period and approve the deal by the end of August. But with Sun's declining revenues and market share, the DOJ in June announced a second round of reviews, which delayed final approval for over a month.
In the statement issued late yesterday, Oracle officials said the DOJ was focusing on deals involving the licensing of Sun's Java software to several of Oracle's major competitors. Over the past several months, some competitors and analysts expressed concern that Oracle now had the power to technically direct the standard in a way that would favor its own applications over those of competitors.
Earlier this year, analysts thought setting up an independent advisory board made up of Oracle and Sun officials, executives from selected competitors, and user organizations would go a long way toward ensuring the neutrality of Java's code and calming jittery competitors.
In an interview with SearchOracle.com in April, Forrester research analyst Ray Wang thought it would be a good idea for Oracle to "set aside Java as a foundation and have someone like [Sun co-founder] Scott McNealy run it. That way, there would be an ecosystem supporting it, so one vendor can't dominate it."