On 16 January 2008, less than six weeks ago, Sun announced their definitive agreement to acquire MySQL AB. That "definite agreement" was still subject to government approval in the US, Germany and Austria, and to the signing of the legal transfer documents by MySQL AB's current owners.
Those hurdles have now been passed, and the acquisition is thus official. MySQL is part of Sun!
Many community members and customers have surely thought of Sun's acquisition as a Done Deal already. Perhaps there never was any real uncertainty about it, but at least theoretically, there still was a risk of the deal not closing. That uncertainty is now removed.
This is very exciting for us at MySQL.
The last six weeks, we've been living under special circumstances: We've known that Sun is acquiring us. We've seen and experienced that Sun displays a "do no evil" attitude, from the top downwards. I have yet to meet the Sun employee who is not excited about the acquisition. Everyone is eager to get going, to do joint activities, to launch MySQL as part of Sun.
At the same time, an era is ending. Yes, I may be overly dramatic, but today also marks the end of MySQL as an independent company. For me personally, this means I'm now working for a company with over 34.000 employees. In 2001, I split my company into two, and sold one of the halves to MySQL AB. We were employees no 15 to 20 (roughly). I'm happy and proud to note that all five of us who joined MySQL AB in 2001 are still with the company, when it's size is about 450 people. Little did we know!
So what changes with todays announcement of the closing of the deal?
In a way, the "Business as Usual" phase ends. "Business as Usual", in this context, meant that MySQL couldn't take orders from Sun, that MySQL and Sun couldn't go on joint sales calls, and that information between MySQL and Sun couldn't be disclosed freely. Those restrictions are now done and over with, together with the possibility (risk) of the deal not closing.
In another way, "Business as Usual" continues. We'll continue to support our popular development environments (PHP, Perl, Ruby on Rails, etc etc, not just Java) and likewise our popular platforms (RHEL, Windows, Mac OS X, etc etc, not just Solaris). Things don't change, unless announced.
This also means that the MySQL Users Conference is happening with MySQL being part of Sun. Early registration ends this week, coinciding with the announcement of the closing of Sun's acquisition. I hope this means many potential UC attendees will get wind of the US $ 200 savings in time to register by 26 February (today!).
What are the next steps?
The Integration Team has been working long hours in the past six weeks, planning how MySQL is to be integrated into Sun. Yet, plenty of work still remains: many uncertainties, many questions.
The immediate next step is related to so called personnel on-boarding. As MySQL AB is now a subsidiary of Sun, MySQLers are hence part of Sun. But from an employee perspective, this is merely an intermediate step. MySQLers will transfer to Sun Microsystems, or local subsidiaries of Sun -- such as Sun Microsystems GmbH, in my case. That's something that cannot be planned and executed in no time flat, so it's going to be happening over the next months. When the process has concluded, I hope nearly all MySQLers have signed on, and received their Sun credentials, badges, and whatever insignia belongs to true Sun Microsystems employees.
To this point, I need to mention Damien Eastwood, Sun's VP, Products and Technology Law. He's been absolutely great in understanding the needs and requirements of MySQLers when it comes to job agreements. He's worked with the thought leaders amongst our internal developers, to make the process of deciding whether to accept the Sun job offer a much easier process than what it would have been when the discussions started. A tough challenge, and everyone's not yet on board. Still, I cannot but think it's an omen that if you combine the first name of MySQL's Legal Counsel, Clint Smith, with Damien's last name, you get Clint Eastwood.
So, in summary:
- The ride has been smooth so far, as judged by my colleagues who've experienced previous integrations.
- We today really just see the beginning of the integration. I have no doubt that there will be bumps, even though both the Sun and the MySQL side have smart people with a good attitude of making everything work.
- We haven't figured it all out yet, nor do we need to. Until further notice, we will continue to work as previously.
- All the Sun employees I've met have been very eager to help, and want to learn from MySQLers.
- We've had a good FOSS IP debate, where Sun has adapted our job agreements and made it possible for us to de facto contribute to projects other than MySQL, in a practical way.
- And finally, may I suggest an Action Item for you: Register today (to save 200 US dollars) for our Users Conference 14-17 April 2008! Come to hear Jonathan Schwartz's keynote and learn about all the other things we're doing around MySQL!