Computer Business Review

MySQL co-founder doubts Oracle support

Steve Evans

11:49, January 15 2010

Growing open source database would be ‘unhealthy’

With an EU decision on Oracle’s potential $5.6bn acquisition of Sun Microsystems expected later this month, MySQL’s co-founder David Axmark has told CBR that he believes there is ‘no real reason’ for Oracle to support the open source database application.

“I do believe that Oracle has no real reason to support MySQL. I don’t think the competition between them was enormous, but it is growing and has been growing for a number of years. I don’t think it’s healthy for Oracle to continue to grow it,” he said.

Speaking to CBR after giving a lecture at the London Business School’s Entrepreneurship Leader Series, Axmark added, however, that it is unlikely Oracle will kill off the database and that current MySQL customers should not be too badly affected by the takeover.

“I doubt they’d ‘kill’ anything,” he said. “Will they aggressively sell to companies that Oracle can sell to? Never. Will it hurt the current MySQL customers? Probably not. There’s no money to be made for them there. Upselling current MySQL customers to Oracle would be tiny money. Stopping Oracle customers from downgrading to any open source database will be lots of money.”

Axmark also believes that aiming MySQL at a market where Oracle’s existing database applications do not operate will mean that the two can coexist. “If I was Oracle, I would aim MySQL even more at the web sector, where Oracle doesn’t really have anything. So more development, more uses and they don’t really lose any revenue. I wouldn’t aim it at the enterprise sector where Oracle already is,” he told CBR.

Axmark founded MySQL AB, the company behind the database, alongside colleague Monty Widenius during the early 1990s. The first product was released in 1995 and rapidly grew to around 50,000 downloads a day in February 2008, when the firm was acquired by Sun Microsystems for $1bn.

Widenius recently launched a website called Save MySQL, which aims to raise awareness of the potential conflict of interest if Oracle’s Sun acquisition is allowed to go through.

In December 2009, Oracle released an open letter to MySQL customers confirming its commitment to the application in an attempt to appease the EU ahead of the decision making process. The EU has set a deadline of January 27 to reach a verdict.



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