Sun Buys MySQL for $1B

I feel like this is becoming an M&A blog, but there been a lot of relevant M&A activity of late that I felt I needed to cover (e.g., Microsoft/FAST, EMC/Document Sciences).

Yesterday’s big news (aside from Oracle / BEA for I think $8.5B) was Sun announcing that it would buy MySQL for $1B.

Frankly, this deal caught me by surprise. I’ve been critical of Sun at times, but I think this is a smart move for them. It continues their trend of trying to offer open source and/or cheap software tools (e.g., Star Office) that undermine incumbents in large markets. And it will help them transition to from a wounded workstation and server company to something else. What “something else” is I’m not sure. I am sure, however, that they can’t stay still, so in a sense any motion represents potential progress.

Schwartz is an active CEO blogger (gotta love that), so he has written his own extensive post on the deal, here. Excerpts:

But the biggest news of the day is… we’re putting a billion dollars behind the M in LAMP. If you’re an industry insider, you’ll know what that means – we’re acquiring MySQL AB, the company behind MySQL, the world’s most popular open source database …

But as I pointed out, we heard some paradoxical things, too. CTO’s at startups and web companies disallow the usage of products that aren’t free and open source. They need and want access to source code to enable optimization and rapid problem resolution (although they’re happy to pay for support if they see value). Alternatively, more traditional CIO’s disallow the usage of products that aren’t backed by commercial support relationships …

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. …

Information Week covers the deal here.

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