Oracle says Justice Dept allows $7.4B Sun deal

Business software maker Oracle said Thursday it has received the Justice Department's approval to move forward with its $7.4 billion acquisition of former dot-com-era star Sun Microsystems.

The deal still needs the go-ahead from the European Commission.

Clearance by the Justice Department had been held up over questions about the licensing of Java, a programming language that Sun invented that now runs on more than 7 billion electronic devices around the world, including cellphones and personal computers.

Another potential antitrust question could surround Sun's MySQL database, an open-source product. Some technologists worry Oracle could make MySQL a lower priority as it tries to boost sales of its market-leading database software.

Sun's performance had been shaky for nearly a decade before Oracle outbid IBMfor the Santa Clara, California-based company in April. IBM is one of Oracle's biggest database software rivals, and is a major Sun rival in computer servers.

The Sun acquisition will give Oracle more control over the development of Java, a key technology used in its products, and also thrust the Redwood Shores, California-based company into hardware, a new area for Oracle.

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