Although IBM in many ways looked like a more likely candidate, it now seems like Oracle instead will acquire SUN. Some questions immediately spring to mind:
- Why did SUN reject the IBM offer?
- What’s in it for Oracle?
- What will happen to MySQL?
As for the first question, I don’t think it was valuation. IBM offer is believed to have been around $6.85-7 billion and Oracle’s bid is supposed to be around $7.4 billion (or $5.6 billion net of Sun’s cash and debt). More important was probably the fear of SUN that the deal wouldn’t go through, because lack of commitment from IBM for example in case the deal would be subject to an antitrust review. More views on this question from Bloomberg.
As for the second question, Oracle is officially mentioning control of Java and Solaris as the main reasons, but I think there are a few more. The acquisition will help Oracle to really take on IBM as it can start offering integrated hardware and software solutions. Through the indirect takeover of MySQL, it also enables them to remove an important competitor while taking an even more powerful stab at IBM in the database market. Henrik Torstensson has posted a link to a good analysis by GigaOM of the acquisition.
As for what perhaps is the question closest to our Nordic hearts, Monty Widenius co-founder of MySQL offers some thoughts on his blog Monty Says. Knowing what problems SUN have had in integrating MySQL (and still SUN is a much more open source friendly and savvy company than Oracle), my feeling is that Oracle have a gigantic task at hand making the MySQL integration successful and I woudn’t be surprised if we will see many more MySQL employees leaving the company sooner rather than later. Maybe an opportunity for other open source companies to pick up some very talented people…