It should be something related to the sales period as the same day that Oracle scoop BEA Systems, Sun Microsystems announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire MySQL AB for approximately $1 billion.
MySQL was forecasted to set an IPO this year, but it seems that with the difficult conditions of the stock market its initial investors have chosen the easy solution to cash their money by letting Sun acquire the company.
For Sun, who recently changed its NASDAQ stock ticker from SUN to JAVA, it is a confirmation that the new strategic direction is in software and services. This move is therefore an important step to transform itself more in a service oriented company. With MySQL, Sun acquires a fast-growing company that has already a dual open source-commercial approach. Its estimated 2007 revenues were around $70 million. It is also a quick and good ticket to enter the database market already occupied by its competitors (Microsoft, Oracle and IBM). We suppose that Sun will not touch a lot to the existing MySQL organization. Being backed by a bigger company will bring an increased credibility and a better sales channel. Sun could also provide additional resources to improve its product so that it will become a more fierce competitor against Oracle.
The acquisition could also help Sun to propose its own alternative to the open source Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP (LAMP) architecture. As it put its Solaris operating system in open source last year, it could propose a Solaris/Apache/MySQL/Java (SAMJ) pack that could be optimized. This could be a real alternative to the Windows ecosystem that is backed by a “old” company, thus allowing medium-size companies to have the impression to make a safer transition than with a pack of dispersed open source projects.
This move also changes the landscape for the other companies operating in the open source database area, like PostgreSQL and Ingres. However it is also a financial validation of the open source commercial model and some companies could end being the target of a bigger fish in the future. I will not be surprised if companies like Red Hat, HP… or Yahoo! will make some acquisitions in the sector in a near future.