I’m not worried at all. I think it’s great that Sun just bought MySQL for $1bb

Jan 16, 2008 / By Paul Vallee

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The only criticism of the deal I could possibly give is that MySQL is still on the early phase of an exponential adoption curve and I think they’ve got lots of growth yet to come.

But really, a billion dollars has a lot if not most of that growth factored into the price already.

Think of what they get: huge mindshare in a 30,000 person company with an established presence and sales channel throughout the world. They get that mindshare because that same company is one that has struggled to find the next big thing, the next huge thing that is going to change the landscape of enterprise IT. Well they’ve found it. And they’re going to get to work on making it happen.

Not to mention that while Sun has not always open-sourced as early as they should have, once they do open-source software they’re pretty much always done the right thing by the community of users.

Not to mention that the nice thing about open-source is that we don’t really have to worry too much about it; it’s Sun’s problem to get ROI on a billion buckaroonees but if they give up at any point, we can fork it and take back over. We can actually do that now if we need to. I remember when Oracle bought RDB and then proceeded to kill it gently with neglect. The only way they could get away with that is because they owned the source. MySQL is not vulnerable to that kind of strategy.

And if I were a founder, I’d much rather go to Sun than to Google or to Yahoo, the other likely targets (mostly because of their vast adoption of MySQL coupled with deep pockets). Sun is a product company, a software company, and a support company, that actually sells these things, knows how to sell them successfully and take them to market long-term. And it’s filled with geniuses who are dying to hook to the next big thing.

In my opinion, a great move by MySQL.

P.S. I have started to reflect on how this changes the challenge posed by MySQL to Oracle. I think it changes it a lot, and in fact makes it a much more difficult challenge. I may post on that subject too if I can scrounge the time.

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2 Responses to “I’m not worried at all. I think it’s great that Sun just bought MySQL for $1bb”

  • jason arneil says:

    Interesting you are looking at it as a great move by MySQL, rather than a great move by Sun. I think it’s a lot of money for something available for free, I suppose the money is to be made on the support, or is it some enterprises can only use something that has a price tag associated with it?

    I think that ROI might be a long time coming. That being said, I think Sun has come out the other side of a period of decline after the dot-com bubble, maybe I’m not being farsighted enough in seeing what a good move this is. I’ll certainly be keen to see what Sun insiders say about it.

    Oh, your captcha is a real pain, it really is at times difficult to make out the words.

  • Paul Vallee says:

    Yeah, you’re right, I don’t really see it as a great move for Sun. Well, it is a great move strategically to be sure. But they might have overpaid by 50% or more. That is a lot of zeros to show ROI for! :-)

    It is telling that the deal is all-cash in my opinion, as well.

    But I definitely think this will crank up MySQL’s adoption rate and prospects

    The captcha is a bit of a pain, mostly because the words may not be decodable at all – there’s no way for the engine to know in advance. The “recycle” graphic requests fresh word pairs and usually I can get some easy ones after one or two reloads.

    I’m actively looking to improve our commenting / captcha system so if you know one that you love I will gladly adopt it. This is the best we’ve tried so far, and it has the side benefit that we get to contribute to a book digitization effort.


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