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Sun acquires MySQL for $1 billion

Kaj Arnö announced on his blog about the acquisition of MySQL by Sun Microsystems. He wrote that this has taken everybody by surprise - users, community members, customers, partners and MySQL employees. He believes that depending on one’s relationship to MySQL, the immediate reaction upon hearing the news may be a mixture of various feelings, including excitement, pride, disbelief and satisfaction, but also anxiety. Most Industry experts have been speculating that MySQL will likely be a hot IPO for 2008.

As part of the transaction, Sun will pay approximately $800 million in cash in exchange for all MySQL stock and assume approximately $200 million in options. The transaction is expected to close in late Q3 or early Q4 of Sun’s fiscal 2008. Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.

Kaj Arnö is the VP of Community Relations for MySQL. He is responsible for communicating and evangelizing MySQL within the software development community – as well as representing the community’s interests to MySQL’s senior management team. He has been with MySQL since 2001 in a variety of executive positions, including managing the company’s relationship with SAP. Prior to MySQL, he founded and was CEO of Polycon Ab, a training and professional services provider in Finland and Germany. He began his professional programming career with Datema and IBM.

Given Sun’s proven track record as the largest contributor to Open Source, Kaj assures that MySQL users have plenty of reason to feel happy about the acquisition. There are many companies that attempt to ride the wave of positive attention towards Open Source, but Sun gets it right. Sun gets Open Source. Java has been released under the GPL. There’s the OpenSolaris operating system. There’s Open Office / Star Office. There’s the GlassFish application server. There’s the NetBeans IDE tool. And more.

Anxiety on the part of MySQL users may stem from Sun’s success with Java and Solaris. Will MySQL’s support for other programming languages and operating systems now be given less attention?

Absolutely not. MySQL is still being managed by the same people, and the charter is still the same. There is no need for reducing the set of platforms or languages. It only makes sense to continue to support de facto Web development standards like LAMP, as well as emerging ones like Ruby and Eclipse. This deal is about addition, not subtraction.

What does the acquisition of MySQL by Sun mean for the core MySQL community?

The acquisition of MySQL by Sun will be seen as good news also by the core group of users who form the active MySQL community. This is because Sun is a safe haven for MySQL. Sun knows Open Source, and to the extent things change, Sun is expected to add value to the community. MySQL will continue to work with their quality contributors, continue to provide to the MySQL Forums, the Planet MySQL blog aggregator, #mysql-dev and #mysql channels on Freenode will remain, MySQL University lessons, and the MySQL Users Conference. There will be effort into connecting the many FOSS enthusiasts and experts at Sun with the active MySQL user community.

Users in the community have already started reacting to the acquisition in many ways. If Open Office’s database be improved with MySQL in a much easier way. Will Sun try to streamline the licensing madness that MySQL has become. This licensing madness is perhaps one of the many reasons that people have begun to flock to PostGreSQL. It may even surprise many industry observers on the goal of Sun with this acquisition as Sun had done its much needed effort to push PostGreSQL on Solaris earlier.

Here is an excerpt from Jonathan Schwartz, CEO and president of Sun Microsystems;

I’ve asked our team to negotiate an arms’ length commercial transaction, prior to closing, that allows us to provide Global Enterprise Support for MySQL - so that traditional enterprises looking for the same mission critical support they’ve come to expect with proprietary databases can have that peace of mind with MySQL, as well. This gives traditional enterprises a world of new choices and competition. If there’s one item customers have been asking from us for years it’s more innovation in the database marketplace - we’re now in a position to respond.

Read more about the acquisition on Kaj’s Blog - Sun acquires MySQL and enjoy the talk with MySQL Founders Monty and David.

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