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Common Sense Advisory Blogs
Sun Buys MySQL Database
Posted by Donald A. DePalma on January 16, 2008  in the following blogs: Market Data
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This morning Sun Microsystems announced that it would buy MySQL, the Swedish database company that is the "M" in open source's LAMP -- Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl. It is also one of the few database systems that matter -- Microsoft's SQL Server, IBM's DB2, and Oracle are its major competitors. Sun will pay about US$800 million in cash for MySQL's shares and assume another US$200 million in options. The deal brings "the world's most popular open source database" into the portfolio of one of the most active proponents of open source software.

For us, we have long found that MySQL's localization, international outlook, and focus on industry standards made it a good choice for many global applications. Sun referenced MySQL's global relevance several times in its press release. What we found most interesting:
  • Acceptance in website globalization applications. MySQL has millions of global deployments, including Common Sense Advisory's own site. Other MySQL customers are Baidu, China Mobile, Facebook, Google, and Nokia. Sun noted that more than 100 million copies have been downloaded, another 50,000 are downloaded daily.

  • Widespread usage in current and next-generation systems. The database is widely deployed across all major operating systems, hardware vendors, geographies, industries, and application types. As part of the LAMP acronym, it is a big part of Web 2.0, SaaS applications, and many embedded OEM applications. That includes many translation industry applications, such as XML-International. MySQL has many distribution channels, including IBM and Dell, that guarantee broader usage.

  • Brain trust. The company has been successful in attracting strong database development talent, including industry experts like Jim Starkey, the architect of innovative database systems at Digital Equipment and Interbase Software.
This acquisition changes the global database industry line-up. We've long encouraged every developer of multi-user applications, both commercial off-the-shelf and do-it-yourself, to build their solutions on top of a database. For some developers, integration and multiple points of support have stood in the way. That reality gives an advantage to full-service suppliers like Microsoft with .NET solutions built around SQL Server or IBM DB2 products built on the WebSphere stack. Once MySQL is integrated into Sun's sales, development, and support organization, Sun can go mano-a-mano against Microsoft and IBM in system deals around the world. Expect Hewlett Packard, which is working on its own portfolio of software solutions, to look for its own database vendor from the dwindling stock of independents like Borland, EnterpriseDB, Progress, Software AG, and Sybase.

Does this signal the demise of open source software? We don't think so. Sun has been at the forefront of open source. For open source aficionados, the acquisition puts MySQL into a safer haven than Oracle. For those who have avoided open source, Sun MySQL will give the imprimatur of mainstream software that many corporate buyers demand.


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