Tony Bain

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Disappointed for MySQL

November 11, 2009 | Tony Bain

Like many I was disappointed, yet not surprised, that the EC formally logged their objection to Oracle’s acquisition of Sun on account of MySQL a few days back.  And we also hear today that Oracle will be stating their position in Brussels on the 25th of this month.  To me this case has odd from the onset and as it goes on it is just getting odder.  And of course this all seems to be occuring at immense cost to Sun, Oracle and MySQL themselves.

There are several reasons why this is odd.  One of the key ones is that for some time MySQL has been quite open about their non compete focus with Oracle.

For example, this is an excerpt from a  Jan-2007 interview between Marten Mickos (MySQL CEO at the time) and Linux Journal (keep in mind this was prior to the Sun acquisition).

GM: Does that mean MySQL is not really up against Oracle as a competitor—that you tend to go for new companies?
MM: I would put it differently: they are not up against us when it comes to Web 2.0; we are among the pioneers there, the leaders there.

GM: What about in the traditional markets, do you find that you are starting to compete against Oracle?
MM: We do, but it's not a main area of focus for us. This is the major difference between us and the other open-source databases. Most of the others are trying to become a replacement for Oracle, so if you look at PostgreSQL, EnterpriseDB, Ingres and all those guys, they try to mimic the old-style databases so that they one day can claim that space. But my guess is that by that time, the space will be gone.

Then following the Sun acquisition ,Jonathan Schwartz (Sun CEO at the time) speaking at SugarCRM conference in Feb-2008 made the following comments:

Asked if Sun planned to scale the MySQL database to compete with Oracle, [Jonathan] Schwartz said Sun will not compete with Oracle but "will scale MySQL to extraordinary heights."

Yet the EC remains not so sure.

CLARIFICATION: I am disappointed not because I necessarily want MySQL to be owned by Oracle, but instead because I think this draw out period of uncertainty is doing more to damage MySQL than any acquisition would.