Spanish Competition Authority opens formal proceedings against Oracle

On 29 July 2011 the Spanish National Competition Commission (“CNC”)stated that it opened formal proceedings against Oracle Corporation and Oracle Ibérica, SRL (“Oracle”) in relation to an alleged abuse of dominant position in the area of relational databases in breach of article 2 of the Spanish Competition Act 15/2007 and Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.  The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by Hewlett Packard (“HP”).

According to the CNC, there appears to be prima facie evidence that Oracle abused its dominant position. In particular, Oracle’s 22 March 2011 decision to suspend all software development for the Intel Itanium processor, chiefly used in HP’s Integrity family of servers, may give rise to an unjustified refusal to provide services and abusive discrimination. What is more, Oracle’s modification of the price policy for its enterprise relational database management systems may also give rise to an abusive discrimination claim.

The CNC has a maximum period of 18 months to close the investigation. [Gabriele Accardo]