There are a couple of remarkable points about this:
- MySQL is the world's most popular open-source data base (and one of the most popular databases in general). It's the 'M' in the LAMP stack, on which so many web-sites are build these days.
- MySQL can avoid the very costly and strenuous process of doing an IPO.
- MySQL can gain access to more higher-end accounts. One of MySQL's main revenue streams comes from professional support. But still, some CTOs want to rely on a Fortune 500 company for tech-support of critical infrastructure components. That used to be Microsoft, IBM and Oracle ... or Sun. Well, with Sun owning MySQL now, these conservative thinking CTOs get what they want with MySQL. Thus, we should see the adoption of MySQL in ciritical high-end accounts grow.
- Sun can regain some of its standing in the web/Internet world, which it once used to have, but had largely lost after the dot-com bust.
- MySQL as one of the world's premier open-source projects is another feather in Sun's open-source cap.
There is another, very important point in this: To some people it is still surprising that it is possible to make money with open-source. Some are wondering if open-source software can be professional or enterprise ready, or if it is possible to get support for open-source products. I think an acquisition like this answers those questions comprehensively. Consider that MySQL already had $80 to $100 million in sales (much of that from support) last year, with revenue continuously growing. It is the epitome of a highly professional open-source company, a showcase of the commercially potential of open-source.
So, considering these revenue streams, the professional cloud and huge user base of MySQL, a $1 billion evaluation is not outlandish by any stretch of the imagination and a clear indicator of open-source's viability, if we ever needed one.
Other related posts:
UK government supports open source
25 open source projects for software development
Dabbling in OpenSolaris
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