Update: Sun closes MySQL deal in six weeks

The speedy acquisition happened through enthusiasm from both sides, exec says

Just six weeks after announcing that it would acquire open-source database vendor MySQL AB for $1 billion, Sun Microsystems Inc. today said that it has already completed the deal.

In a conference call with reporters this morning, Sun CEO and President Jonathan Schwartz called the deal "the most important acquisition in Sun's history" and said it was completed in such a short time because of the enthusiasm within and synergies among the staffs of the two companies.

Starting today, all of MySQL's products are available through Sun's worldwide sales and support network, Schwartz said. "We'll work with the [MySQL open-source] community to scale MySQL to new heights of performance," he said. "The MySQL acquisition will accelerate Sun's business."

Former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos, who will serve as the senior vice president of the MySQL division at Sun, said the completed acquisition "marks the end of a remarkable era and the beginning of one which may be more remarkable. I agree ... that the opportunities before us are immense. We'll grow to serve more customers, bigger deployments and at a bigger scale."

The MySQL acquisition was greeted last month with a healthy dose of optimism by a number of leaders in the open-source community, who said they thought the deal would provide MySQL with more financial security and resources, and would help advance open-source software in enterprise systems.

In an interview after the conference, Mickos, who joined MySQL in 2001, said it will be the first time since he was a college student in 1986 that he'll be working inside such a large company. Back then, he had a job with IBM for one month as part of an IBM touring exhibition.

"Will it take time to adjust? I have no idea," Mickos said.

At MySQL, Mickos has for years been the public face of the company, meeting with users and customers, representing MySQL at IT conferences and helping to spread the gospel of open source.

How will that translate to now being a senior vice president inside Sun, a company where he will no longer be the top dog?

"I already bought a gray suit and a tie," Mickos joked. "I do know that I'm known in business circles as the spokesman for MySQL, but we also have a huge community of users who don't know me. I don't think it's just me" that represents the identity of the company. "But I will continue to do what I love to do [getting out amid customers] ... and i can do more of it now. I actually see myself to be freed up to do more of it, spending time with users, customers and partners," by not being the CEO. "I think that's what I'm good at."

Leaving the top leadership post of his company will be different, he said, but joining Sun is exciting.

"I see Sun as a giant start-up," Mickos said. "Everybody here is making things happen. That's what I like here that I see."

Asked how the acquisition by Sun occurred so quickly -- with final action only six weeks after the deal was announced last month -- Mickos said it progressed with such speed because there was a meeting of minds inside the two businesses. "We just decide that this was the right thing to do, and we left all of our worries aside. We didn't get distracted by the deal because we had customers to serve," he said.

Often after similar acquisitions, the leader of the acquired company stays on with the new business but over time can fade away and depart. Mickos said he doesn't know what will happen but is ready for the ride.

"There's no limit to my excitement, but I'm trying not to be overly naive," he said. "I will continue in this job as long as it is rewarding and useful."

Simon Phipps, Sun's chief technology evangelist, said the completed acquisition will keep him even busier. "I have more than ever before to keep an eye on at Sun," he said. "Now we have a complete enterprise open source stack. I'm looking forward to the new challenges that will come from working alongside the extremely experienced people at MySQL."

Phipps said he was involved in the acquisition discussions since December. "One reason it happened so quickly was that there were so few difficult questions because everything fit together so well."

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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