EU, US regulators stretch out the waiting game

As I argued last week, a good deal of the anxiety about the future of Java post-merger comes from just a fear of the unknown. It's not that Oracle is menacing, exactly, or any more menacing than a typically ruthlessly efficient and profitable multinational corporation is. It's just that nobody knows exactly what the post-merger landscape will look like, and this absence of knowledge is mandated by law, as the players can't talk about detailed plans until the deal between Sun and Oracle has been firmed up.

I'm sure Oracle is champing at the bit to get this done, and has given "summer" as its target timeframe; unfortunately (and no doubt frustratingly to Larry Ellison, who is probably pretty accustomed to getting his way), they're not the only ones who determine when this happens. The US Department of Justice still hasn't signed off on the deal; last we heard they were looking into issues surrounding Java licensing, an intriguing potential line of inquiry about which the public has heard exactly nothing.

Meanwhile, US regulators aren't the only ones who need to be heard from; across the pond, the European Commission may not render its verdict until September. But the Europeans seem less interested in Java and more in the implications of database giant Oracle gaining control of MySQL. With Java at the heart Oracle's acquisition motivation, it seems that this will be less of a problem even in a worst cast scenario; presumably Oracle would not shed too many bitter tears if forced to spin MySQL off (or even sell it back to Monty Widenius).