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Showing entries 1 to 26

Displaying posts with tag: M&A (reset)

As the GPL fades
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We’re continuing to see signs that the dominant GPL open source license may be fading from favor among commercial open source software players. The latest move away from the GPL comes from content management software vendor Alfresco, which is moving to the LGPL after originally releasing its code under the GPL three years ago. The reasoning for the shift, according to Alfresco CEO John Newton, is the company sees greater opportunity beyond being a software application, particularly given the emergence of the Content Management Interoperability Services standard. Alfresco won mostly praise for its move, and it does make sense given where open source is going these days.

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CAOS Theory Podcast 2010.01.22
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Topics for this podcast:

*Open source in consumer devices
*VMware-Zimbra deal highlights open source, cloud
*A capitalist’s guide to open source licensing
*Latest on Oracle-Sun-MySQL, M&A implications

iTunes or direct download (24:48, 5.7 MB)

A guide to The 451 Group’s open source software coverage
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Regular visitors to the 451 CAOS Theory blog will be well aware of The 451 Group’s CAOS (Commercial Adoption of Open Source) research service and our CAOS long-form reports.

They are probably less aware of the open source coverage that The 451 Group provides on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis, however, and I thought it would be worthwhile to provide some examples of The 451 Group’s ongoing open source coverage by highlighting a few recent reports.

The company’s core services are 451 Market Insight Service, which delivers daily insight into emerging enterprise IT markets, and 451 TechDealmaker, a forward-looking weekly

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Save MySQL would not spare open source M&A
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A recent pitch from the folks opposing Oracle’s ownership of MySQL via acquisition of Sun Microsystems got me thinking. The plea, ‘Oracle can have Sun, but not MySQL’ may make sense to some, but to me it speaks to the irony of closing out Oracle or any company or anyone from open source. Upon further reflection and given 2010 is off to a roaring pace of M&A, I also began to wonder what the impact of the ‘Save MySQL’ campaign could be on open source in M&A, particularly if it was to successfully derail the acquisition or somehow decouple MySQL from Sun under Oracle?

What would it mean to carve out the open source projects, components, teams and support from

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Don’t fear the reaper. Why FOSS should not fear M&A by proprietary vendors
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A couple of posts have been published recently worrying about the impact of more open source specialist vendors being acquired by proprietary vendors.

This is an issue that crops up occasionally. Usually when a major acquisition has been announced, and the current questioning seems to be driven by the ongoing saga of Oracle-Sun-MySQL, as well as the rumoured purchase of Zimbra by VMware.

While fear of the unknown is understandable, to my mind the concern about open source specialists being acquired by proprietary vendors is driven by parochialism and misplaced assumptions about the rate of acquisitions and the acquiring company’s intentions.

For a start the statistics suggest that

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Everything you always wanted to know about MySQL but were afraid to ask – part three
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Since the European Commission announced it was opening an in-depth investigation into the proposed takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle with a focus on MySQL there has been no shortage of opinion written about Oracle’s impending ownership of MySQL and its impact on MySQL users and commercial partners, as well as MySQL’s business model, dual licensing and the GPL.

In order to try and bring some order to the conversation, we have brought together some of the most referenced blog posts and news stories in chronological order.

Part one took us from the announcement of the EC’s in-depth investigation up to the eve of the communication of the EC’s Statement of Objections.

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EC investigation of Oracle-Sun enters the endgame
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Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems looks set for approval by the European Commission after the competition commission welcomed commitments from Oracle related to the future development and licensing of the open source MySQL database.

The EC has until January 27, 2010, to reach a final decision however it appears that significant progress has been made following hearings in Brussels last week where Oracle made its case for approving the acquisition and opponents including SAP, Microsoft and Monty Program AB argued against the proposed acquisition.

Oracle has published a list of ten commitments that it is prepared to make to assuage the EC’s concerns over the future of MySQL, which were quickly and enthusiastically welcomed by the European

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The case against the case against Oracle-MySQL
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Matt Asay is right, in my opinion, to point out the inherent bias in the case Monty Widenius et al have made against Oracle’s potential ownership of MySQL. I would go further, however, in stating that the case being made against Oracle is flawed by the fact that it is so self-serving. For instance:

  • I previously noted that the Widenius/Mueller case against Oracle owning Sun/MySQL is entirely dependent on the theory that Oracle will not invest in the ongoing development of MySQL, which is something it has publicly committed to doing.
  • The case against Oracle owning Sun is also based on the theory that
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451 Group survey highlights user concerns over Oracle’s proposed ownership of MySQL
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Everyone seems to have an opinion about whether Oracle should be allowed to acquire the MySQL database along with Sun Microsystems including former MySQL/Sun executives, developers, rivals, partners, analysts, journalists, the Department of Justice and even US Senators. What do open source software users think?

We asked the members of the “CAOS user community”* to tell what they thought of the proposed deal, as well as share some details on current database usage. The results have been published in the form of a 451 Group report (subscribers only) but here’s some of the headline figures:

  • The use of MySQL is expected to decline from 82.1% of the 347 respondents today as 78.7% expect to be using it in 2011, declining to 72.3% 2014.
  • The proposed
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Oracle-Sun: Statements and observations
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I’ve been trying to dig a bit deeper into the European Commission’s investigation of Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems, to look beyond the received wisdom about the EC’s concerns about the deal.

We know they revolve around the open source MySQL database, the European Commission has said that much. But the Statement of Objections weighs in at 155 pages, and even those that have read it admit to being confused by it. Meanwhile some of the most vocal parties in the public debate have vested interests in encouraging opinions for or against the deal.

Without knowing precisely what the European Commission wants to achieve it is impossible to come to any conclusions about the investigation. However,

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Everything you always wanted to know about MySQL but were afraid to ask - part two
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Since the European Commission announced it was opening an in-depth investigation into the proposed takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle with a focus on MySQL there has been no shortage of opinion written about Oracle’s impending ownership of MySQL and its impact on MySQL users and commercial partners, as well as MySQL’s business model, dual licensing and the GPL.

In order to try and bring some order to the conversation, we have brought together some of the most referenced blog posts and news stories in chronological order.

Part one took us from the announcement of the EC’s in-depth investigation up to the eve of the communication of the EC’s Statement of Objections.

Part two, below, takes us from there to

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Copyright/left at the centre of open source business strategies
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Below is a rough draft of the cornerstone slide for a new presentation deck I am putting together to explain the various business strategies for monetizing open source software. The aim is to explain every single existing strategy using the elements on this one slide (although I am yet to test it out).

In our previous discussions about business strategies we have noted that there are four elements that shape a business strategy around open source software: the open source software license; the development strategy; the end user license strategy; and the revenue trigger.

As can be seen from the slide above, I have added a fifth element: copyright control. Copyright was previously considered in our research around business strategies but was seen more as an underlying

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Everything you always wanted to know about MySQL but were afraid to ask - part one
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Since the European Commission announced it was opening an in-depth investigation into the proposed takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle with a focus on MySQL there has been no shortage of opinion written about Oracle’s impending ownership of MySQL and its impact on MySQL users and commercial partners, as well as MySQL’s business model, dual licensing and the GPL.

In order to try and bring some order to the conversation, we have brought together some of the most referenced blog posts and news stories in chronological order. Part one, below, takes us from the announcement of the EC’s in-depth investigation up to the eve of the communication of the EC’s Statement of Objections. We will continue to update part two

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What about Woman’s Hour? Free speech, free markets and the future of MySQL
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A controversial issue in the UK this week is the BBC’s decision to invite the British National Party - the far-right, whites-only political party - to appear on Question Time, the BBC’s flagship political debate programme.

Critics fear that the move will legitimise the BNP’s far-right views, while the BBC has defended the invitation on the grounds that its role as a politically neutral public service broadcaster would be undermined if it excluded the BNP - which won its first European Parliament seats this year with an estimated million votes.

To me it is clear that no matter how abhorrent the BNP’s policies on certain issues may be the BBC has a duty to invite it to participate as it is a legitimately

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451 CAOS Links 2009.09.18
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Citrix joins the Linux Foundation. BonitaSoft raises $3m. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# Citrix joined The Linux Foundation.

# Open source BPM vendor BonitaSoft raised $3m from Ventech and Auriga Partners.

# Jaspersoft updated JasperReports Professional with enhanced data visualization.

# US CIO Vivek Kundra outlined the government’s cloud strategy, using NASA’s open source Nebula cloud.

# Infobright claimed to have increased its customer base


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Oracle *could* kill off MySQL as a commercial product, but probably won’t
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Before I even start this post I am going to repeat our view that Oracle is well aware that it has little to gain from killing off MySQL and that we expect MySQL to become the scale-out database for non-transactional web applications and to compete with SQL Server in departmental deployments.

That said there has been some interesting discussion on Twitter this week in response to the European Commission’s investigation of Oracle-Sun about whether Oracle could - in theory - kill off MySQL. Here’s a Q+A explaining my view as to how Oracle could kill MySQL but probably won’t, and why MySQL AB’s choice of dual licensing and the GPL has come back to haunt Monty Widenius.

Q. Oracle can’t kill MySQL even if it

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On the question of MySQL’s state of health
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Matt Asay has written an interesting post speculating that Oracle might use the delay caused by the European Commission investigation into its acquisition of Sun to drive the price down. Sounds reasonable enough to me.

In it, Matt makes a couple of statements, one I agree with: “Oracle… likely will prove to be a better manager of this asset than Sun was”; and one that I have real doubts about: “MySQL’s… doing just fine, thank you”.

MySQL might well be doing fine. Unfortunately Sun’s financial results don’t actually provide any evidence either way.

Billings for the MySQL/Infrastructure were up 51% to $313m in FY09, according to information presented with

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The EC is mostly, but not entirely, wrong about Oracle/MySQL
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By now you are probably aware that the European Commission has decided to launch an extended investigation into Oracle’s acquisition of Sun based on concerns over MySQL.

The new has prompted a lot of criticism of the EC, much of it suggesting that the delay will do considerable harm to Sun (and therefore Oracle). This argument is valid - Sun’s already declining revenue has been in freefall since the deal was announced and one wonders how far it will fall in another 90 days of stasis.

Other criticism, (such as this from Matt Asay) focuses on the suggestion that the delay will do little to help MySQL or its users, and that the EC fails to understand open

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451 CAOS Links 2009.05.15
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Open Database Alliance formed. Oracle buys Virtual Iron. AccesStream reaches version 1.0. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory

I’ve just met a fork named Maria
MySQL founder Monty Widenius and Percona CEO Peter Zaitsev announced the launch of the Open Database Alliance - “a collection of companies working together to provide the software, support and services for MariaDB, an enterprise-grade, community-developed branch of MySQL.”

Continuent and Open Query quickly announced their membership, while Monty later


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Playing fantasy M&A with the Benchmark/Accel open source investment portfolio
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Javier Soltero, former CEO of Hyperic, has maintained that the sale of Hyperic to SpringSource was driven by discussion between himself and SpringSource CEO, Rod Johnson, but the fact that the companies shared investors - Accel Partners and Benchmark Capital - no doubt accelerated the deal (and I wonder whether either could have afforded to acquire the other without shared investors).

When examining the open source vendor landscape it is tempting to imagine that the combined total could be bigger than the sum of its parts - that a combination of many open source product specialists could mount a challenge to Red Hat and Sun to claim the title of biggest open source software vendor.

Benchmark and Accel

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The potential impact of Sun-Oracle on MySQL, and its partners
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    “We’re both in the transportation business. We have a 747, and they have a Toyota.”

The comparison of Oracle’s database and MySQL, made by Oracle president Charles Phillips at the 2004 Vortex Conference was undoubtedly meant as a criticism, but it so graphically demonstrated the differing business strategies and selling-points of the two products that MySQL executives began citing it themselves.

It is also a comparison that explains how the two products could potentially co-exist within a single company, as they seem likely to do following the announcement that Sun has agreed to be acquired by Oracle.

Much of the MySQL-related coverage of the impending

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Oracle buys Sun, but does it buy open source?
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The big news to kick off this week was Oracle’s announced acquisition of Sun Microsystems. There is already a lot of discussion of the integration challenges, how Oracle is getting into hardware (or as Matt Asay describes it, having an ‘iPod moment’) and of course, the implications for open source software. What stands out to me is the fact that the world’s biggest proprietary database player — one of few software giants that still sells and supports primarily proprietary software — will own the world’s most popular open source database, MySQL. It is unclear how significantly MySQL figures into the deal, but given Sun spent $1b acquiring it and further

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Open source, VC and the long path
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My CAOS colleague Matt Aslett wrote recently about how we expect to see an uptick in open source merger and acquisition activity given the current economic conditions and bargains for the larger, mostly proprietary players. Matt also discusses the difficulty of further VC funding, though we have seen some significant investment announcements, such as Open-Xchange, Infobright and others. Still, Matt is probably right that funding will be harder to come by for any company, open source or not.

I also continue to see a number of startup and younger open source vendors — would-be fundees — that are opting to hold off on venture funding and stick to building up business,

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Has MySQL founder and CTO resigned from Sun?
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Valleywag reports that Monty Widenius has quit Sun. The Pythian Group reckons its true. Kaj Arno’s non-denial denial would appear to confirm it despite his protestations otherwise.

“Technically there is no resignation letter. However, I spoke to Monty yesterday, and yes, resignation is an option he considers,” writes Kaj before expanding on some of the reasons that Monty might consider leaving Sun and how the MySQL project would continue without him (or without him as an employee at any rate).

He concludes: “In summary, I can neither confirm nor deny the rumour. But I hope my posting has shed

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Asking the right questions of open source
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A classic Morecambe and Wise comedy sketch from the 1970s sees Andre Previn criticizing Eric for playing all the wrong notes while attempting the Greig Piano Concerto. Morecambe responds that he is in fact “playing all the right notes. But not necessarily in the right order.”

I was reminded of the sketch this morning while reading BusinessWeek’s article on the potential perils facing open source vendors today. It seems to ask all the right questions, but not necessarily in the right way.

The report suggests that while industry giants such as IBM, HP, Oracle and Intel stand to benefit from open source software, investor impatience

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Open source: assimilate and thrive
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Matt Asay writes today about the prospects for open source vendors going public or, more likely, being acquired, and wonders whether open source vendors should “hold out for an IPO” or “capitulate” and be acquired.

The latter seems far more likely, especially in the current economic climate. We have written before about the open source vendors most likely to go public in the next couple of years.

Looking at the list of contenders again it is easy to imagine that they could all be snapped up before they make it public thanks to the fact that 1) open source vendors are very attractive investments 2) it is difficult for open source vendors to build the momentum to do so.

I spoke recently with

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Showing entries 1 to 26

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