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Did Oracle buy MySQL by accident?

By Tony Davis,

The wording of the statement about MySQL that came out from Oracle after the merger lacked the enthusiasm that they gave to Java. "MySQL will be an addition to Oracle's existing suite of database products, which already includes Oracle Database 11g, TimesTen, Berkeley DB open source database, and the open source transactional storage engine, InnoDB."

It seemed downbeat. There was no talk of being committed to the growth of MySQL, or any hint of a long term strategy. In fact, the implication was "Oh no! Another Blooming Database to deal with". It was if they'd bought a job-lot of china in a house sale and were bemoaning the surplus of teapots.

It was a strange sentiment from a company that has no credible entry at the lower end of the market. If they improve MySQL with Oracle technology, support it properly, price it keenly so that it represent a lower start-up cost than SQL Server (it will be expected to make more money for Oracle than it did for Sun, surely?) then it could make a very tempting mid-range option, and lead to an interesting pincer movement on SQL Server.

There is a large user base out there whose requirements are satisfied by the likes of SQL 2000, but who need something more than SQL Server Express. MySQL is already way more fully-featured than SQL Server 2000 and will certainly scale a lot further than Express. At its peak, it was attracting more than 70K downloads a day and has huge appeal to the younger generation of developers.

Add to this the 'safety net' of a very smooth upgrade route from MySQL to Oracle, which Oracle Corp will of course provide, and you might have the incentive for companies to go down a path that overcomes any fear they may have had of open source, and avoids SQL Server altogether.

Of course, there is still a fair amount of dust to settle, and other developments to consider, such as the level of support building behind the Melissa fork of the MySQL code base. However, I'm firmly in the camp that cannot believe Oracle acquired MySQL just to let it drift.

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts.



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