Former MySQL Boss to EC: Approve Oracle-Sun Deal

Published on October 9, 2009
by John Paczkowski

Though he resigned earlier this year, former MySQL boss Mårten Mickos still has strong opinions about the open-source database outfit, which was acquired by Sun in 2008. In a letter to the European Commission Thursday, Mickos urged regulators to green-light Oracle’s (ORCL) takeover of Sun (JAVA), arguing that to delay it will only harm competition.

“Every new day of uncertainty is potentially very harmful to the various businesses of Sun, reducing competition in the market,” Mickos wrote. “A delay in the closing of this transaction is therefore only going to work against the respectable goal that you set out to achieve when launching the probe into this acquisition.”

Oracle, says Mickos, has far better reason to ramp-up Sun’s MySQL business than it does to harm it.

“Even if Oracle, for whatever reason, would have malicious or ignorant intent regarding MySQL (not that I think so), the positive and massive influence MySQL has on the DBMS market cannot be controlled by a single entity–not even by the owner of the MySQL assets. The users of MySQL exert a more powerful influence in the market than the owner does,” he continues. “Many expected Oracle to harm MySQL as far back as 2005, when they acquired the InnoDB storage engine that plays a crucial role for many MySQL customers. And yet Oracle increased their investment in InnoDB since that time, making MySQL a stronger player in the market.”

An interesting argument and one that appears to offer Mickos little personal gain. Now an entrepreneur in residence at Benchmark Capital, Mickos says he has no financial interest in the transaction. So why bother making it? “I couldn’t live with the fact that I’m not taking action,” Mickos told

Mickos’s letter will no doubt be welcomed by Oracle, which has repeatedly said it has only the best intentions for MySQL. “No, we’re not going to spin [MySQL] off,” Oracle CEO Larry Ellison told attendees of a Churchill Club event in Silicon Valley earlier this year. “We are keeping everything. We’re keeping tape. We’re keeping storage. We’re keeping x86 and SPARC. And we’re going to increase investment in all of them.”

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