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MySQL's Mårten Mickos on Sun: "We Feel Like We Have Joined a Giant Startup"

"We are getting ready to be part of Sun and to do our best to build our dream of $1BN in database revenue within Sun"

MySQL's Mårten Mickos has been speaking out on the deep background to his company's decision, instead of pursuing an IPO, to allowing Sun to acquire it. "We feel like we have joined a giant startup," Mickos gushes, before singling out Jonathan Schwartz's "brilliant" CEO charisma as one of the chief tipping-points: "Who wouldn't want to work for him?"

In an extraordinary piece called "Why Did I Change My Mind?" Mickos, who like Linus Torvalds was born in Finland, starts out in what he with typical frankness calls "a typical Scandinavian contrarian way."

"Perhaps we will be unable to maintain our passion within Sun," he notes. "And at the most extreme, perhaps we should not have done this deal. The reality is it will take many years before we can judge this decision to know if it was the right course."

After that, his explanation is less tentative and indeed at points verges on the effusive.

In giving what he calls his "entirely personal view of the factors that made the deal happen," Mickos enumerates ten factors that convinced him that Sun Microsystems would be a good home for MySQL and made being acquired  "better than an IPO."

"Why did we abandon our revolution for a stable nation?" he asks rhetorically. Among the ten reasons Mickos gives, three loom large:

  • Sun has become the world's strongest proponent of free and open source software. We are happy to be part of that!
  • Sun has a huge field operation that can bring MySQL to more customers faster. Thank you!
  • Jonathan Schwartz is a brilliant CEO and he has a great team. Who wouldn't want to work for him?


Calling Sun "a bold and fun disruptor," Mickos cites the sheer speed with which the deal was proposed (by Schwartz) and concluded as evidence in itself of a basic compatability between Sun and MySQL:

"The fact that it all happened so quickly makes it obvious that Sun's and MySQL's organizations have a cultural affinity that enables such fast convergence on a major strategic deal."


It took just seven weeks to get the $1BN deal done.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Most Recent Comments
Duty Editor 02/13/08 05:26:30 AM EST

Duly corrected: Thanks for your vigilance, niz! We appreciate it.

niz 02/12/08 03:49:07 PM EST

Just a small correction to the article: Mårten Mickos is Finnish, not Swedish.