Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sun Microsystems Buys MySQL for $1 Billion

Sun announced today that they are purchasing the open source database vendor, MySQL AB, in a deal valued at around $1 billion. The transaction is scheduled to close late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of Sun's fiscal 2008. According to The Street: "Sun will pay approximately $800 million in cash for all of MySQL's stock and assume about $200 million in options."

Sun's CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, described the acquisition as based on MySQL's unique position: MySQL's database is the "M" in the LAMP stack which is favored by web companies, yet MySQL is having difficulties selling to more traditional companies, because CIOs want traditional "big company" commercial support. MySQL has stated that "more than 100 million copies of MySQL's open source database software have been downloaded and distributed and an additional 50,000 copies are downloaded daily." Sun gains the advantage of MySQL's customer base while supplying the commercial support that MySQL needs to sell into more traditional enterprises. Jonathan's post is particularly interesting for the vision behind the acquistion:

So why is this important for the internet? Until now, no platform vendor has assembled all the core elements of a completely open source operating system for the internet. No company has been able to deliver a comprehensive alternative to the leading proprietary OS. With this acquisition, we will have done just that - positioned Sun at the center of the web, as the definitive provider of high performance platforms for the web economy.

Jonathan's post also provides details about how Sun will integrate MySQL into its offerings.

And he announced that Sun will be funding additional developments at universities through global research fellowships designed to advance the state of engineering on the internet. The announcement of this academic initiative follows Sun's announcement in December that Sun will be establishing an "award program" to support innnovation and advance open source development relating to its products.

2008 is starting with a bang for open source.