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Sun Dives into Database Market: Buys MySQL

Sun Microsystems announced today that had entered into an agreement to acquire open source database company MySQL AB for $1 billion in cash and assumed stock options. MySQL is used by many of the web’s largest companies, including YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia, and makes up the “M” in LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP), one of the most popular open source web development stacks utilized by web sites today.

“Today’s acquisition reaffirms Sun’s position at the center of the global Web economy. Supporting our overall growth plan, acquiring MySQL amplifies our investments in the technologies demanded by those driving extreme growth and efficiency, from Internet media titans to the world’s largest traditional enterprises,” said Jonathan Schwartz, CEO and president, Sun Microsystems in a press release.

On his blog, Schwartz revealed that Sun would soon be announcing a new set of MySQL support services. “Though many of the more traditional companies use MySQL,” he wrote, “many have been waiting for a Fortune 500 vendor willing to step up, to provide mission critical global support.” Previously, Sun sold support for competing open source database, PostgreSQL

Schwartz also talked about having “assembled all the core elements of a completely open source operating system for the internet.” Sun’s open source web development stack now includes Java, OpenSolaris, MySQL, and GlassFish. It would appear that Sun is hedging its future on open source (though the acronym is harder to pronounce than LAMP).

Though many industry watchers see the Sun acquisition as a smart move and great fit, some point out potential difficulties moving forward. Raven Zachary, an analyst at The 451 Group, thinks the purchase of MySQL “raises a whole bunch of issues concerning Sun’s close ties to Oracle, as well as their investment in PostgreSQL.” And Larry Dignan wonders, “if Sun makes MySQL more enterprise acceptable does that diminish its mojo with startups?”

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