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Sun Shines $1B on Open Source Database MySQL

Posted by Michael Harvey on January 17, 2008 9:40 PM EST
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Huge news in the Open Source world today: Sun Microsystems announced that it will spend $1B to acquire the Open Source database MySQL. MySQL is the back-end of the LAMP stack (Linux OS, Apache server, MySQL database, and PHP programming language), on which many web applications are based, not to mention web giants like Facebook and Google. The press release can be read here, which contains the following paragraph:

"This broad penetration coupled with MySQL's strength in Web 2.0, Software as a Service (SaaS), enterprise, telecom and the OEM embedded market make it an important fit for Sun. With MySQL, Sun will have the ability to deepen its existing customer relationships and create new opportunities with companies seeking the flexibility and ease-of-use of open source systems. With MySQL, Sun will have the ability to deepen its existing customer relationships and create new opportunities with companies seeking the flexibility and ease-of-use of open source systems."

There are two big themes that I took away from this quote. First is that Sun will be able to pick up a large, pre-existing customer base through MySQL's broad deployment (which was made even more broad late last week when Virgin Mobile announced its SMS database would be based on MySQL). One of the biggest benefits of Open Source software is that it can spread very quickly to gain a large hold of the market. The second note I see in this article is that Open Source is getting the publicity it deserves for being flexible and easy to use.

To me, this announcement also indicates that open source is going upscale. This deal represents the largest acquisition of an open source company to date and continues a trend that increased in scope throughout 2007 with the Zimbra acquisition by Yahoo!. It seems that big companies are seeing Open Source as a completely viable option and I think that we should anticipate more Open Source applications gaining the interest of a broader marketplace. I'll be intently watching to see how this shapes the open source landscape in 2008.

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