When I learned this morning that MySQL was acquired by Sun for $1bn, I breathed a sigh of relief. As an analyst at the 451 group, part of our jobs was to examine and identify top M&A targets. MySQL was a prime target, namely because it was such a disruptive force in the database sector. So likely buyers abounded: Oracle of course, but also IBM and even apps players like SAP. But Sun was a bit of a surprise, though I think in the long run this is a smart move for both sides here.
First, Sun has been all about open source for some time. It is continually opening up its Java holdings, and of course OpenSolaris has been around for a while. (I even predicted Sun would pick up JBOSS before RedHat snapped it up.) And Sun brings MySQL, which was going public anyway, into a larger and pretty stable public entity. It spares the smaller startup the trouble of going through the IPO phase. And finally, Sun isn’t already a huge database player, so this is more about addition to a product offering, rather than squashing disruptive competition.
And really, as much as other companies like Oracle or IBM might claim that a play for MySQL would be about “extending community” or embracing open source, really it would be to nip some competitive activity in the bud. MySQL has proven itself a scalable and very reliable database option for some of the hugest data sets, and this must annoy the bigger database players.
And ultimately, MySQL’s exit at a billion bucks is one more validation of the commercial open source model. This model is simply a more effective method of building and selling products, but also allows companies to enter markets faster and make significant change in the market in a short time.
Now, it just begs me to ask the question….will the LAMP stack be brighter now that it has Sun? Sorry, just had to…