Oracle’s Hand In Sun’s MySQL Buy

    January 22, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Tech industry pundit John Dvorak thinks Larry Ellison had a shadowy hand in the billion dollar deal that brought MySQL to Sun.

How can a company afford a $1 billion price tag for an acquisition like MySQL, when the target only brings in about $60 million in revenue? Dvorak’s big question has a fascinating answer: Sun couldn’t afford it without help.

“So who can afford it? Oracle, that’s who. This deal stinks from top to bottom,” said Dvorak. “Sun and Oracle, have been strategic partners for years.”

Those with memories of the Cold War might liken Dvorak’s assessment to East Germany’s use of Bulgarian agents for some of their dirty work. He thinks Oracle wanted to kill off MySQL, which hurts its business, but knew it would never accomplish a takeover.

Dvorak also theorized MySQL could have drawn a much higher price tag than $1 billion had it been known the company would entertain a sale. He claimed that by virtue of being Swedish, MySQL kept negotiations quiet.

We think this is an odd point about the deal. Why would MySQL keep its interest in being purchased quiet?

The answer could be very simple. The service nature of MySQL’s business doesn’t fit with Google or Yahoo. Microsoft competes in the database space. If an Oracle bid for MySQL would have inflamed European regulators, they would be incandescent over a Microsoft bid.

Sun’s deal looks like what it has been promoted to be: a play at adding MySQL’s services business and growing it. Conspiracy theories may be fun, but like Majestic 12 should be viewed with skepticism. Sun (or Oracle) can’t kill off MySQL any more than Microsoft can kill off Linux.