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Oracle relies on users to sway the EC in the Sun deal

Oracle has called on several of its large European-based customers to testify on its behalf in hopes of convincing the European Commission to approve its proposed merger of Sun Microsystems.

The anti-trust hearings that will determine whether the European Commission approves Oracle's proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems kicked off in Brussels today, with Oracle bringing in several large customers to testify on its behalf, according to reports by the New York Times and Reuters.

The Spanish bank BBVA, along with the U.K-based Vodafone PLC and National Health Service and the Oracle user group, which is represented by the BT Group, were all expected to make presentations to the European Union's antitrust regulators in hopes of bolstering Oracle's case. Oracle's president Safra Catz, along with a representative of the U.S. Department of Justice, were present at this morning's session.

Most of today's closed-door hearings are expected to focus on Oracle's arguments as to why its ownership of Sun's open source MySQL database will not create unfair competition in the overall database market or limit the choice of users. Tomorrow's hearings will see third parties giving their testimony on why the deal should or should not be approved.

Among the third parties offering their views on the impact of the proposed acquisition are Microsoft, a major competitor to Oracle in the database market, and Michael Widenius, the co-creator of MySQL. All three parties are expected to oppose the deal.

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