MySQL, JBoss most likely on 'the block'

MySQL, JBoss most likely on 'the block'

Summary: Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, San Francisco, CA -  Beyond their similar roles as open source poster children,   MySQL and JBoss have two other things in common.  First, neither company wants to be acquired (both would prefer to go public).

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TOPICS: Software
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Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, San Francisco, CA -  Beyond their similar roles as open source poster children,   MySQL and JBoss have two other things in common.  First, neither company wants to be acquired (both would prefer to go public).  In an interview last week regarding IBM's acquisition of open source J2EE-provider Gluecode, JBoss CEO Marc Fleury made it very clear that JBoss isn't for sale.  Here at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, during an after hours conversation with MySQL vice president of marketing Zach Urlocker, it became pretty clear that MySQL's preference is to go solo as well.  But just because neither company has stuck a "For Sale" sign in the ground outside their offices (or posted an auction on eBay), doesn't mean they're not for sale.   Everyone has a price, and the more I think about it the more I realize that the two companies are currently irresistible acquisition targets. The question is: Who will acquire them?

Here's the logic.  For vendors, particularly software vendors, it's impossible to stay in the market without some sort of open source story.   Just look around the industry at companies like IBM, Microsoft, BEA, Sun, Computer Associates and Novell. They're the biggest companies in the industry and all of them are betting on open source in some way, shape or form.  Moving forward, this will be standard operating procedure for all software companies.  

But, being the in-vogue thing to do is actually not the big reason JBoss and MySQL will get acquired.  The reason they'll get acquired -- a reason that many companies get acquired -- is market share.  JBoss, for example, reports that it has 34 percent of the J2EE market, according to one study.  According to at least one summary of IDC's 2003 market share findings, MySQL has a negligible one-tenth of 1 percent of RDBMS market share.  But neither of these numbers tells the whole truth. That's because market share is based on revenues instead of the installed base; and when it comes to actual installed base, very few research outfits will venture a guess on market share since the software is freely downloadable and/or comes built-in to certain disributions of Linux.  There's no way to really tell who is using it and who isn't.  All I can say is that, over the past five years, the majority of organizations that I've come into contact with, particuarly start-ups, are running mission critical applications on MySQL. MySQL has way way more than one-tenth of 1 percent of the installed base.

Last week, IBM broke ranks and bought Gluecode.  What made this deal unusual was the fact that Big Blue already sells a commercially available version (Websphere) of what Gluecode offers as open source (a J2EE server).  What's even more perplexing is that, as long as the company was going to do something like that, then why not buy JBoss? Such an acquisition could have propelled IBM so far ahead of the rest of the J2EE bunch (if JBoss' 34 percent market share stat is accurate, IBM would be near 70 percent) that it almost seems like a no-brainer.  Sure, JBoss would have cost more.  But IBM is flush with cash.  But now that IBM hasn't applied that thinking to JBoss, someone else undoubtedly will, and the same goes for MySQL.  Somewhere on some whiteboard in some M&A specialist's office, these two companies are listed.

In the J2EE and database markets, there are plenty of companies that desperately need a boost in one or both of these markets.  Oracle, for example, would love to be in the 30 percent market share range when it comes to J2EE servers.  Sun too.  Or, what about Red Hat or Novell? Which database company wouldn't want the additional market share that could be gained by acquiring MySQL?  As ludicrous as it sounds, even Microsoft, which seems to be warming up to Linux in ways that no one ever thought possible, could make a play. 

But if there's one company that's really looking to restore its lustre, that company is Computer Associates.  This is a company that -- in its previous incarnation -- would acquire other mid-life companies and milk them for all they had.  Virtually everyone I ask sees the old Computer Associates as more of an investment bank  than a technology company.  The new Computer Associates wants to be a technology company, and judging by the way it has open-sourced its Ingres database, it also wants to be an open source company.  But the Ingres move hasn't raised enough eyebrows in database land to cause any sort of CA-reviving exodus.  For that, CA will need something else.  It will need a J2EE/RDBMS one-two punch with some buzz, and it has no chance of getting there if it goes the build route instead of the buy route.  That's why my bet is on CA to acquire both. But even if CA doesn't acquire them, my sense is that someone will, and long before the premium on either goes up because of an IPO.   The games began when IBM made its play for Gluecode last week. They're far from over.

Topic: Software

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6 comments
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  • It's going to become an application battle

    I totally agree that Open Source software is shaking things up. I believe that the next to battle is the application world. There is so much great open software out there these days that I makeS you think "WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THIS GREAT STUFF?"

    After all Linux, MS, ASP, Jboss, PHP, Apache, IIS...MySQL blah blah are really not usuful by themselves. There needs to be a problem or need, and software can be a great solution to both of these. Now it becomes what is going to be written and how will it be rewritten. The code behind the scence is getting more complicated... however the tool available to help create applications are becoming easier to use.

    The whole world of software is changing.
    simon@...
  • Gluecode

    Actually, IBM made exactly the best choice.

    Gluecode offers comeercial support for integrated package of the "best of breed" open source products, such as the Apache foundations Geronimo Application Server and Derby Database, among other things. I suspect it's that support (and people)that IBM is after when it purchased GlueCode, since it will allow IBM a "viral" channel into the downmarket business niche.

    Derby is a open source version of IBM's Cloudscape, arguably one of the most popular databases in it's niche.

    Geronimo itself is actually a combination of the "Best of Breed" open source projects, like Tomcat, MX4J and XMLBeans.

    Most of these products, though open source, are quite mature in themselves, and are of commercial quality (and in many cases, are components of commercial products).

    I would argue that CA couldn't easily build a J2EE server of it's own, as I said,Geronimo is more glued together than built. But why bother? CA could just offer the same support that GlueCode does for the individual packages (It is open source, after all) and a method of migrating to CA products when the need occurs.

    In my opinion, however, the whole issue raised by this article is pretty much moot. You see. this event signals the commodification of application servers in their present form. There is little need for this branch of technology to advance much further at this time. There are a number of different technology trends entering the market in the next couple of years to render the J2EE application server centric approach inappropriate for a number of uses for which it is put to today.
    randyjg2@...
  • Why do people use MySQL?

    People use MySQL mostly because MySQL is free. The ONLY reason why MySQL has such a large market share is because it is *free*, it is not because it is a superior product. MySQL does not yet have support for stored procedures; most IT groups that have money to spend will not touch a SQL package without stored procedures. Redhat's SQL is based on PostgreSQL instead of MySQL probably for that reason. Oracle has no interest in free software or in people that do not want to spend money. MS purchase MySQL? That is ridiculous, you really must be smoking something to make that comment. MS would be more likely to release a free version of SQL Server before they would purchase MySQL.

    If a commercial SQL company would purchase MySQL then the OO community would switch to something else, it is not a good fit.
    balsover
    • Stored Procedures

      They are in MySQL V5 and that is just being released after extensive testing.

      So that Stored Procedures AND Views

      Dave
      Marcwolf1960
  • Why we use MySQL

    2 years ago our web development company decided on MySQL as our DB of choice.

    Why.. Cost and power. With MySQL 5 just around the corner there is not much now that (with Views and Stored Proceedures) MySQL cannot do.
    And those few features that it cannot are not used that often and have work arounds.

    Costing. A company can purchase a full licence (unlimited) for about $400. Or if its just for the web then I believe it is free.

    Compare that to a competitor who wants $1200 for the base product, $250 per connection, and then if you actually want to store data from the web (emails, vistors) $8000 for the web (unlimited connection) license.

    The other competitor is similar..

    Power - MySQL is fast!!, can be scaled upwards into clusters, and also has a very strong following from programming professionals who are keeping new features coming.

    There are a lot of supporting tools as well. Administrators, Status/Health monitors, Connectors, and with 3rd party products like SQLYog you can have a nicely run DB cluster with backups, syncronisatrion off site etc.

    So, that why we (Corporate Village Solutions cvsol.com ) use MySQL

    Dave Boccabella
    Senior Web Developer
    Marcwolf1960
  • RE: MySQL, JBoss most likely on

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