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Why MySQL sold outMatthew Aslett, February 7, 2008 @ 7:32 am ET
It’s good to see MySQL’s CEO, Marten Mickos, explaining his reasons for abandoning the company’s IPO in favor of being acquired by Sun. What made him and the open source database company’s top brass change their minds (apart from $1bn)? Mickos lists ten factors that convinced him that Sun was the better option:
“1. Jonathan Schwartz is a brilliant CEO and he has a great team. Who wouldn’t want to work for him?
2. Sun has always had the same focus as MySQL on the networked world. Focus and alignment!
3. Sun has become the world’s strongest proponent of free and open source software. We are happy to be part of that!
4. Sun has changed its strategy to include partnerships with former competitors. Hey, coopetition is what we always did!
5. Sun has never stopped innovating or stopped investing in technology. Impressive!
6. Sun has a huge field operation that can bring MySQL to more customers faster. Thank you!
7. MySQL would be a great complementary fit in Sun’s product portfolio. We like being useful! We love being uniquely useful!
8. Sun’s corporate culture is among the best a startup can ask for. We can work from home! We can innovate. We are thrilled!
9. Sun is a bold and fun disruptor again, and we see a huge upside in its strategy. I am not saying that success is a given, but I am saying that Sun’s new strategy is one of the most exciting this industry has to offer. We are all in!
10. Sun was really eager to get us on board and we were treated with the greatest respect from the start. (And I hope we did the same in return)”
One of the things I like about Marten is that despite his enthusiasm and excitement he is at heart a realist. As he puts it “in a typical Scandinavian contrarian way: Perhaps we will be unable to maintain our passion within Sun. And at the most extreme, perhaps we should not have done this deal. The reality is it will take many years before we can judge this decision to know if it was the right course.”
You just don’t hear US executives talking like this. “But let me also state that there is probably no better place for this ‘dirty dozen’ (or perhaps ‘fanatical four hundred’) of MySQL than inside Sun Microsystems,” he adds, getting back on message.
It’s an interesting article and no doubt answers a few questions people will have been asking about MySQL’s decision. Read it over at AlwaysOn.
Coincidentally, Jonathan Schwartz has gone on record this week about the factors that convinced him that acquiring MySQL was the best user of $1bn of Sun’s money. “Sun was attracted to the open-source database company’s very rapid growth rate and its revenue model,” reported InforWorld following his keynote at SugarCRM’s SugarCon 2008 conference.
The report adds: “‘What was attractive was how profound their distribution was,’ Schwartz said. MySQL offers access to about 11 million deployments around the world, and Sun began to see MySQL delivering real value, innovation, and choice, he said. MySQL sells services and support for its database. Asked if Sun planned to scale the MySQL database to compete with Oracle, Schwartz said Sun will not compete with Oracle but ‘will scale MySQL to extraordinary heights’.”
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