Category Archives: Sun

MySQL’s Mickos to Leave Sun

Marten Mickos, former CEO of MySQL and subsequently senior vice president of the database group at Sun Microsystems has announced his resignation.

Says Cnet:

“There is nothing in the MySQL business that is prompting me to leave,” Mickos said. “Business is great. We just closed a multimillion-dollar deal recently that confirms much of the momentum we’ve made. We just closed our best quarter ever.”

The story then goes on to include an excerpt from an internal email Mickos sent implying he was quitting primarily for personal reasons. But the Cnet story continues:

What Mickos doesn’t say in the staff letter, but which I sensed in my conversation with him, is frustration at Sun’s bureaucracy. As one of the most foundational personalities in open-source business, Mickos should have been given free rein to change Sun’s fortunes. I don’t think that he was given that freedom, based on other conversations I’ve had with Sun executives, and this clearly led to his desire to leave Sun.

This certainly wouldn’t be the first time that an enterpreneurial type grew frustrated working within the context of much bigger company, post-acquisition. But Sun needs to be careful. They paid about $1B for MySQL and they are starting to lose some of the core staff.

See this Information Week story:

“I find it worrying that Sun would let him go. … Marten believes in open source software, but he was pragmatic, he was able to monetize the open source space. If someone who wanted to be part of an open source business didn’t find it that exciting to be at Sun, that’s a message that doesn’t help” Sun’s effort to be recognized as a full-fledged, open source company, [Johnson] said. [Rod] Johnson [CEO of SpringSource] was tapped by Sun last November to sit on the executive committee of its Java Community Process, the body that regulates Java’s development.

Related articles by Zemanta

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.