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Sun pulls MySQL into its orbit

Pays $1bn for Web's favourite free database

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Updated: Sun Microsystems is to pay $1bn for open source database developer MySQL.

MySQL's open source databases are widely used online, but Sun is hoping to increase their use in more traditional IT and enterprise settings. The database is used by many websites - 50,000 copies a day are downloaded.

MySQL will be integrated into Sun's Software, Sales and Services organisation. MySQL's CEO Marten Mickos will join Sun's senior executive team, and a group of staff from both companies will sort out the integration.

MySQL makes a range of databases, including MySQL Enterprise Server, MySQL Enterprise Monitor, and MySQL Embedded Database, and claims 100 million copies have been downloaded at some time. It provides the "M" in LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python) - the software stack much of the web runs on.

Although Sun is generally seen as a good friend to the open source community, it will be interesting to see how that sometimes touchy group reacts to the corporate takeover.

MySQL is run from Uppsala, Sweden and Cupertino, California. It has 400 staff in 25 countries.

Sun is paying $800m in cash and will take on $200m in share options.

Laurent Lachal, open source director at the IT analyst house Ovum, told The Reg: "I have my doubts about this deal, I'm neutral. Considering Sun's record of buying software companines it has the capacity to build on MySQL's momentum or destroy it.

"Sun needs be clearer about its open source strategy. However there's a good alignment in terms of culture and Sun can definitely help MySQL move into telecoms and into more corporate environments."

According to Lachal, the deal was safer for MySQL than an Initial Public Offering - which might be difficult in the current climate and could be torpedoed by Oracle.

The press release is here, and there's a conference call from 3.00pm GMT here. ®

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