Since Oracle has said it doesn't want to spin off MySQL, another option would be to assign MySQL to its own division within the company and try to convince the Commission that Oracle won't interfere with MySQL's development or the community around it, Weiss said.
"There could be any number of possibilities here, but it appears the Commission does not want to see MySQL as an integral business unit within Oracle," he said.
Meanwhile, Oracle must resist firing back at the regulators. "This isn't the time for Larry to hurl invectives at the Commission; that would only alienate them even more," Weiss said.
The Commission's public response Wednesday is a sign that it will not be pressured. "They're saying, 'Look, Oracle, it's in your hands to speed this decision along, and we'll move as fast as you're willing to provide us with the necessary information,'" he said.
Ellison has insisted that Oracle does not compete with MySQL. Analysts say that's only partly true. While Oracle competes primarily at the higher end of the market, against IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL server, it will "have to work on positioning statements that make the lines of demarcation more clear," Butler said.
Others say the deal would harm the open-source database. "If Oracle is allowed to acquire MySQL, it will predictably limit the development of the functionality and performance of the MySQL software platform, leading to profound harm to those who use MySQL software to power applications," open-source advocate Richard Stallman wrote in a letter to the Commission this week.
Gartner does not see the deal as anticompetitive. Besides there being other open-source databases on the market, there are other distributions of MySQL that will continue to be available no matter what Oracle does, Weiss said.
Oracle is likely to position MySQL as an option for the low end of the market, complementary to its own, he said. "They have plenty of market opportunities up-scale for their database, as they have been demonstrating with Exadata," Weiss said, referring to the high-end transaction server Oracle developed, first with HP and then with Sun.
"I think they should take a restful day or two to think this over and not react impetuously," he said. "This calls for some cool thought and a very intelligent response."
This story was updated on October 22, 2009.