Sun Makes $1B MySQL Move

Sun busts a billion-dollar move to acquire open-source database vendor MySQL

January 17, 2008

2 Min Read
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Sun revealed plans to acquire database specialist MySQL for $1 billion this morning, outlining its plans to use open source as a springboard for its storage wares.

The deal, for $800 million in cash and a further $200 million in options, is the latest in a string of recent open source-related announcements from Sun, as the vendor attempts to get its storage business back on track.

"This is, I think, the most important acquisition that Sun has made in the history of the company," said Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, on a conference call this morning.

Sun now sees a massive opportunity to expand the reach of its storage products. "We can bring a breadth of technology and services offerings to the MySQL customer base," added Schwartz, highlighting, in particular, the database platform's 100 percent attach rate for servers and storage.

To date, more than 100 million copies of MySQL's software have been downloaded and distributed. Around 50,000 copies of the software are downloaded daily. Big-name MySQL customers include Google, Facebook, Nokia, Baidu, and China Mobile, which are all wrestling with vast volumes of data.Sun nonetheless faces the challenge of integrating MySQL and its 420-strong workforce when the deal closes within the third or fourth quarter of this financial year.

The vendor, which famously struggled to integrate its $4.1 billion StorageTek acquisition in 2005, was keen to downplay any suggestion of a similar scenario in the aftermath of this deal.

"In terms of our culture and our business models, we're perfectly aligned," said executive vice president of software Rich Green on this morning's call, explaining that Sun is already "the largest open-source company in the world."

MySQL CEO Marten Mickos will also be moving over to Sun, along with the rest of his management team. "Marten will be joining Sun's executive management team," explained Schwartz. "He will play a central role as we continue to unveil our open-source strategy."

Clearly, Sun is also eyeing the storage opportunities presented by the growing number of Web 2.0 and social networking applications that rely heavily on open-source database platforms such as MySQL."MySQL is designed for the online market world," said Mickos during this morning's call. "Our real relevance grows in enterprises as they shift over to Web-based architectures, and our product roadmap is aligned with that."

Open source has increasingly become a Sun mantra over recent years, most notably when the vendor opened up the source code on its Solaris 10 operating system three years ago. Since then, the vendor has undertaken similar efforts around Java technology and its Sparc hardware.

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  • Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU)

  • China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL)

  • Facebook

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

  • MySQL AB

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)

  • Sun Microsystems Inc.

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