Sun Microsystems’ bombshell $1 billion acquisition of open source database management system vendor MySQL has serious implications for Oracle, including the possibility that it may lead to a database price war.
Sun’s MySQL purchase could boost the open source DBMS’s credibility with large, deep-pocketed organizations, according to IT industry analysts. And if that happens, the big three proprietary database technology vendors — Microsoft, IBM and Oracle — may respond by coming up with new database offerings that can better compete with the low total cost of open source.
Even if a price war doesn’t come to pass, Oracle could still be facing a far more serious competitor in MySQL in the long term. The reason, said one analyst, is because the needs of MySQL’s customer base — which consists mostly of smaller organizations — are growing. As their needs become more complex, so will the MySQL product, and that could mean a more robust DBMS that is better equipped to take on Oracle.
Sun announced plans to buy MySQL last week, just after word hit the street that Oracle will buy middleware pioneer BEA Systems Inc. for about $8.5 billion.
A new Wall Street Journal column points out that both acquisitions come amid increased fear about a possible recession in the U.S. that could hurt technology spending. Large software vendors like Oracle and Sun, the article said, are responding by buying companies that help customer build Web-base software and services — areas that are expected to remain hot regardless of the economy.
Does the Wall Street Journal’s assessment make sense to you? Do you think that a price war is a real possibility? Does MySQL stand a chance of becoming a direct Oracle competitor? Tell us what you think.