Thursday, September 03, 2009

MySQL a factor in EU's decision

I just read Björn Schotte's post on the activities of the European Union antitrust regulators concerning the intended takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle.

Björn mentions a news article that cites EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes saying that the commission has the obligation to protect the customers from reduced choice, higher costs or both. But to me, this bit is not the most interesting. Later on the article reads:

The Commission said it was concerned that the open source nature of Sun's MySQL database might not eliminate fully the potential for anti-competitive effects.

With both Oracle's databases and MySQL competing directly in many sectors of the database market, MySQL is widely expected to represent a greater competitive constraint as it becomes increasingly functional, the EU executive said.

In other words, the commission is working to protect the MySQL users :)

Personally, I (and many other MySQL community members) don't fear for the future of MySQL as a product. But I do think it is justified to worry about customers that are now paying Sun for some licensed usage of MySQL, most notably OEM customers and a bunch of Enterprise users.

Ever since the news was disclosed concerning the intention of Oracle to acquire Sun, it has been speculated that Oracle my try to "upsell" the Oracle RDBMS to current MySQL enterprise users. However I don't think that that would be the brightest of moves. I did a bit of speculation myself back in April in response to questions put forward in the SSWUG newsletter.

I maintain the opinions I stated there:

  • MySQL / Oracle are completely different beasts and customers realize this, and most likely Oracle does so too. People running MySQL for web related applications won't move to Oracle. Period. Oracle may be able to grab some customers that use MySQL for data warehousing, but I think that even in these cases a choice for Infobright or Kickfire makes more sense.

  • Not all problems are database problems - if Oracle does a decent job of supporting and developing MySQL, they may become a respectable enough partner for current (larger) MySQL users to help them solve other problems such as systems integration.

  • Instead of looking at the benefits for MySQL customers of using Oracle, look at the benefits for Oracle customers using MySQL. Suddenly Oracle can offer support for the most popular webstack in the world - Now all these enterprise customers running expensive Oracle installations can finally build cheap websites based on MySQL and even get support from Oracle on connecting their backend Enterprise Oracle instances to the MySQL web front ends.

  • It's not all about the products. Open Source adds a whole new dynamic to the development process. I'm not just talking about outside developers that offer new features and code patches, as this does not happen too often. There's more to it than code though

    In all successful open source projects I know there is a very lively culture of users engaging with developers and voicing their opinion on what is good and what is not so good. There is a very real chance for the user to influence the direction of the development process (although this does not mean everybody gets what they want in equal amounts). Conversely this provides a great opportunity for the development organization to learn about what the users really need and wish for.

    In short, Oracle may want to use Sun/MySQL to learn how to do better business with more empowered users.

Of course, its all just my opinion - speculation is free. So you should feel free too to post your ideas on the matter. Go ahead and leave a comment ;)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the HA/telco space Oracle and MySQL compete head on.

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