04 September 2009 | Allie Anderson
The European Commission (EC) is investigating the planned acquisition of US hardware and software supplier Sun Microsystems by database vendor Oracle.
Three main players - Oracle, IBM and Microsoft - control 85 per cent of the database market.
Regulators fear the planned $7.4 billion (£4.56 billion) takeover announced in April would reduce market competition further.
Competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The Commission has to examine very carefully the effects on competition in Europe when the world's leading proprietary database company proposes to take over the world's leading open source database company.
"In particular, the Commission has an obligation to ensure that customers would not face reduced choice or higher prices as a result of this takeover."
The decision to launch an in-depth inquiry follows a routine month-long investigation conducted under EU merger regulations. The EC now has 90 working days - until 19 January 2010 - to rule on whether the acquisition would create a monopoly within the European Economic Area.
Regulators at the US Department of Justice last month approved the proposed deal.