Wow, this is big. It is no secret that Sun has fallen on some tough times lately. Sun had a total revenue of $11.45 billion last year down from $13.88 billion the year before. In contrast, Oracle's last year revenues were $23.23 Billion. The combined revenues of both companies should approach $35 billion. Microsoft currently checks in at $56.3 billion. We're looking at the heavy weights going at it. With Microsoft on the decline, Google at $23.65 billion on the rise, and now Oracle stepping up into the fray, this may become a very interesting war. Oracle acquired Sun for a mere $7.4 billion, a steal.
Oracle's revenue comes from it's pervasive Oracle database. Depending on how you look at it revenue, or installs. Oracle is in the top 2 with Microsoft and IBM's DB2 a close third. Let's not forget, MySql is the most popular Open Source, i.e free, database in the world. What is surprising is when you look at installs and the number of developers developing with a database, MySql comes in a close 3rd to Oracle and Microsoft, with DB2 fourth, and MySql shows the greatest growth rate of all database development.
Oracle's acquisition of the MySql product may be a problem for the Open Source community. Sun owned MySQL, which now belongs to Oracle. If you remember, Oracle purchased PeopleSoft in Dec. 2004 for $10.3 billion. In Oct, 2005 they acquired Innobase which is an integral part of MySql for transaction processing and foreign keys. What will Oracle do with MySql has caused a huge concern with the Open Source Community, so much so, that their already has been several forks of MySql, Drizzle, and MariaDB, just in case Oracle starts charging for MySql. For now, Oracle pledges to leave MySql independent, but this is to be expected in the initial stages of an acquisition, things usually change in six months or so.
My thought is they will continue to support an Open Source MySql and build on top of MySql additional tools, extensions, and integrations with other Oracle products with, of course, a clear upgrade path to Oracle's flagship products for which the enterprise users will pay dearly.
And the same for OpenOffice.org, a legitimate contender, now, of Microsoft Office. Oracle has never had an Office Suite and has wanted one. Oracle is built with Java, as is OpenOffice.org. Again, tools, extensions, and integrations with Oracle products seems like a nice way to get users to start paying for more and more functionality from a previously non-existent Oracle Office Products.
Oracle keeping the Open Source products they have acquired free, and enhancing them, at first, to gain market share seems like good business sense, but as these applications gain more and more market share, I believe Oracle will take a page from Microsoft's play book, and start charging for their enhancements to the products. What this means for Open Source, is a freezing of the Open Source components to a minimal feature level, and if you want more, pay for it.
I have great faith in Open Source software, the forking of MySql is evidence that independent Open Source Developers will continue to create other applications with the missing functionality, that Oracle will ask customers to purchase. As MySql has emerged as the premier Open Source database, so other products can, and will, emerge to take its place, if Oracle begins to get as "bean counterish" as Microsoft is currently, with it prideful boasting about "Microsoft Genuine Advantage," and its publicly crowing about the number of companies they have sued, look for any closing down, of previously Open Source Oracle products to be a catalyst to breed a new generation of improved Open Source products.