) --


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is unwilling to relinquish

Sun Microsystem's


MySQL database to ease the passage of its

$7.4 billion acquisition

with European regulators, according to

The Wall Street Journal

, potentially signaling more pressure for Sun shareholders.

The MySQL technology is central to a European


into Oracle's Sun acquisition, with officials concerned that it could limit choice for software users if it's part of the Oracle portfolio.

A document cited by the


, however, says that Oracle does not want to give up MySQL on account of its intense rivalry with Microsoft. The database giant argues that MySQL is particularly popular in the small to medium-sized business market, where it competes more with Microsoft than Oracle. The newspaper cites a questionnaire sent out by the European Commission (EC) to Oracle's clients and competitors as the source of its information.

Oracle has not yet responded to


's request for comment on this story, although it would not be a shock if CEO Larry Ellison dug his heels in over MySQL. The technology is seen as one of the most attractive parts of the Sun product portfolio, and would undoubtedly extend Oracle's reach into new parts of the market.

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The stakes are high, particularly for Sun shareholders, as the beleaguered tech giant anxiously awaits the end of the EC investigation. The fiery Oracle CEO recently complained that the European probe is costing Sun $100 million a month.

"The longer this takes, the more money Sun is going to lose, and that's not good for anybody," he told a Silicon Valley business and technology forum, according to the

Financial Times


With rivals


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keen to exploit any uncertainty and lure Sun customers onto their own technology, Oracle understandably wants to get the deal done as quickly as possible.

Earlier this week, for example, H-P announced that it had poached Sun's senior vice president of North American sales and services. Randy Seidl is now senior vice president of H-P's global enterprise storage, servers and networking business unit, and is expected to spearhead the firm's attempts to woo Sun resellers.

Oracle had originally hoped to close the merger, which has already been approved by Sun shareholders and the


, during the summer, but the European probe made that impossible. Brussels now has until Jan. 19, 2010, to either clear the deal or prevent it.

The software maker's recent

first-quarter results

provided something of a reality check for the


tech sector, as the database specialist's sales came in


analysts' estimates.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York