Save MySQL would not spare open source M&A

A recent pitch from the folks opposing Oracle’s ownership of MySQL via acquisition of Sun Microsystems got me thinking. The plea, ‘Oracle can have Sun, but not MySQL’ may make sense to some, but to me it speaks to the irony of closing out Oracle or any company or anyone from open source. Upon further reflection and given 2010 is off to a roaring pace of M&A, I also began to wonder what the impact of the ‘Save MySQL’ campaign could be on open source in M&A, particularly if it was to successfully derail the acquisition or somehow decouple MySQL from Sun under Oracle?

What would it mean to carve out the open source projects, components, teams and support from companies involved in mergers and acquisitions over the last few years?

Would Citrix have still bought XenSource if Xen were cut out or somehow separated in any way shape or form from the deal? Would it have paid $500m?

Would Nokia have bought Trolltech and Qt for $153m?

More recently, would VMware have purchsed SpringSource for $420m if some or any of SpringSource’s open source projects, developers or holdings — including its own acquisitions Covalent and Hyperic — were not included?

Oh yeah, would we even be here with MySQL owned by Sun Microsystems if Sun were prevented from fully acquiring the project, code and company despite spending $1 billion two years ago?

Some degree of concern about Oracle’s potential ownership of MySQL or any ownership of open source projects and code is certainly warrented and prudent, but I don’t believe the fear that punctuates the message of the ‘Save MySQL’ campaign makes much sense. This is particularly so in light of the past deals listed here and others where the market has required continued investment and support of open source and provided continued revenue and benefits from open source.

While some of these scenarios may be admittedly implausible, I believe that separating out open source components, parts, projects and subsidiaries from vendors could certainly serve to dull the shine of open source software assets and vendors amid M&A valuations, prospects and strategy.

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9 comments ↓

#1 Arjen Lentz on 01.11.10 at 10:37 pm

Rather invalid argument. The issue over MySQL has little to do with open source, and everything with the database market situation of the two.

#2 Jay Lyman on 01.11.10 at 11:23 pm

Open source tends to increase the value of M&A deals where it’s involved because of its strategic value, and I’m just wondering whether calls to cut out open source parts might impact that. The issue over MySQL has everything to do with open source, as well the database market situation of Sun’s MySQL and Oracle.

JL

#3 451 CAOS Theory » Save MySQL would not spare open source M&A | Open Hacking on 01.11.10 at 11:20 pm

[…] original post here:  451 CAOS Theory » Save MySQL would not spare open source M&A This entry was posted on Monday, January 11th, 2010 at 6:18 pm and is filed under Linux, News, […]

#4 Kristian Nielsen on 01.12.10 at 4:46 am

You seem to have completely missed that the whole issue here is with the European Union Commision deciding if (and under what terms) a dominant market leader (Oracle) can own a competing product (MySQL). And whether the terms “dominant” and “competing product” apply in the first place.

Sun has lots of other Open Source products (Java, OpenSolaris, VirtualBox, …), and there is no talk of cutting out any of those, as there is no potential loss of competition in the market.

Similarly, the other M&A of Open Source technology you mention also seem to have no similar issue with loss of competition?

#5 Jay Lyman on 01.12.10 at 7:00 am

So who should decide which open source parts of Sun can be acquired by Oracle and which open source parts cannot? The ‘Save MySQL’ campaign argues, ‘Oracle can have Sun, but not MySQL.’

In terms of competition, you say the other deals seem to have no similar issue with loss of competition, but I believe the competitive aspects between Oracle database and MySQL database are a stretch, particularly as posed by the ‘Save MySQLers.’

JL

#6 Links 13/1/2010: Linux 2.6.33 RC4, Zenwalk 6.2 Reviewed | Boycott Novell on 01.13.10 at 9:30 pm

[…] Save MySQL would not spare open source M&A A recent pitch from the folks opposing Oracle’s ownership of MySQL via acquisition of Sun Microsystems got me thinking. The plea, ‘Oracle can have Sun, but not MySQL’ may make sense to some, but to me it speaks to the irony of closing out Oracle or any company or anyone from open source. Upon further reflection and given 2010 is off to a roaring pace of M&A, I also began to wonder what the impact of the ‘Save MySQL’ campaign could be on open source in M&A, particularly if it was to successfully derail the acquisition or somehow decouple MySQL from Sun under Oracle? […]

#7 451 CAOS Theory » Everything you always wanted to know about MySQL but were afraid to ask - part three on 01.21.10 at 6:28 am

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#8 uberVU - social comments on 02.13.10 at 12:24 am

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by ripcitylyman: I have similar concerns to M Fleury – http://tinyurl.com/y9hz548 – re: SaveMySQL impact on M&A, as stated here – http://tinyurl.com/ybb8jjp

#9 451 CAOS Theory » Does Consona-Compiere mean community doesn’t matter? on 07.07.10 at 6:01 pm

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