In dueling blogoshots released in October 2009, the two Finns most associated with the MySQL database software company, which they sold to Sun (JAVA) in 2008 for a bazillion markaas, are urging the European Union in opposite directions when it comes to Oracle’s (ORCL) takeover of MySQL (by virtue of Oracle’s pending acquisition of Sun).
Marten Mickos, the CEO of MySQL from 2001 to 2008 and now an entrepreneur in residence in Silicon Valley at big MySQL cash-out winner Benchmark Partners, says
"Oracle has as many compelling business reasons to continue the ramp-up of the MySQL business as Sun Microsystems and MySQL previously did, or even more. Even if Oracle, for whatever reason, would have malicious or ignorant intent regarding MySQL (not that I think so), the positive and massive influence MySQL has on the DBMS market cannot be controlled by a single entity--not even by the owner of the MySQL assets. The users of MySQL exert a more powerful influence in the market than the owner does." (Source: CNet)
Ulf Michael Widenius (called Monty), co-creator of the MySQL project, founder of the company of the same name in 2001, and now founder of the MySQL fork project called Maria, says (on his blog post quoting himself from a press release that was not released):
“… Oracle should resolve antitrust concerns over its US$7.4 billion acquisition of Sun by committing to sell MySQL to a suitable third party… MySQL needs a different home than Oracle, a home where there will be no conflicts of interest concerning how, or if, MySQL should be developed further."
Mickos wins this Arctic Circle standoff on the numbers from an information technology (IT) investment perspective. Oracle can’t sell MySQL because it’s sitting on Sun’s books at a half a bazillion markaas and is probably only worth about as much as a markaa is today given the trivial number of paying MySQL customers estimated by Mickos in his blog post.
Monty's argument against Oracle makes no sense in that he has already forked the project. And anyone else can as well because of the license terms and conditions he used to initially release it.
Of course Mickos' trivial numbers kind of fly in the face of Mickos’ claim to the EU Anti-competition Czar Neelie Kroes that MySQL has a “dramatic effect” on the database market. Unless the dramatic effect is that non-paying customers are not buying database software, something that disagrees with what I see in the marketplace. But Neelie wants out of this job so badly she already gave Microsoft (MSFT) everything it wanted in a recent decision. She probably wants out of there before Ellison starts tearing into her. He won’t meet her for a quiet breakfast of Belgian waffles some morning the way Ballmer did.
-- Dennis Byron