April 20, 2009

Should the Oracle/MySQL combo face antitrust opposition?

Oracle is a powerhouse in database management systems, but it’s hardly a monopolist. IBM revels in contriving figures that show it to have market share comparable to Oracle’s, and Microsoft has a very solid position as well.  Smaller players like Teradata, Sybase, and MySQL are also thriving. And of course there’s a whole wave of newer DBMS companies, from Netezza on, showing that the DBMS industry isn’t even the secure oligopoly it appeared to be earlier this decade.

However, it’s certainly legitimate to define a product category of “real” DBMS that includes everything from MySQL on up, but not Microsoft Access and other low-end data management products.  In that universe, while MySQL is a trivial addition to Oracle’s revenue, it’s a huge increment to Oracle’s unit market share.  A merged Oracle/MySQL will dwarf the competition in ways that Oracle or MySQL alone don’t. 

I can probably come up with business practices that could make things very hard on Oracle/MySQL competitors.  E.g., Oracle could evolve MySQL in a direction that makes it sensible to put a MySQL transparency front end onto the Oracle DBMS. Add in a few specialized MySQL engines as they mature, and the whole thing could be a formidable family.

On the other hand — MySQL is open source now. There’s nothing, in theory, to keep the community from forking it.

I may well be overlooking something, but I haven’t found a compelling antitrust trigger on my first pass over the subject.

Comments

10 Responses to “Should the Oracle/MySQL combo face antitrust opposition?”

  1. Trade Jim News » Oracle-Sun: Whither MySQL? on April 20th, 2009 12:42 pm

    [...] Curt Monash speculates on the likelihood of an antitrust challenge. “A merged Oracle/MySQL will dwarf the competition in ways that Oracle or MySQL alone don’t,” he writes. [...]

  2. Icma2002.Com » Blog Archive » Oracle-Sun: Whither MySQL? on April 20th, 2009 12:45 pm

    [...] Curt Monash speculates on the likelihood of an antitrust challenge. “A merged Oracle/MySQL will dwarf the competition in ways that Oracle or MySQL alone don’t,” he writes. [...]

  3. Peter on April 20th, 2009 1:05 pm

    I read one source, that mentioned that the combined market position of both MySQL and Oracle on the Web database market could constitute a monopoly. LAMP is now LAOP …

    But waht will all the competitors say to the fact that Oracle now runs JAVA? Will SAP, IBM, MICROSOFT like it?

  4. Oracle-Sun: Whither MySQL? | Finley & Cook, PLLC on April 20th, 2009 7:00 pm

    [...] Curt Monash speculates on the likelihood of an antitrust challenge. “A merged Oracle/MySQL will dwarf the competition in ways that Oracle or MySQL alone don’t,” he writes. [...]

  5. Experts: Oracle and MySQL do not create a database monopoly « BREAKING IT NEWS FOR BUSINESS on April 20th, 2009 7:11 pm

    [...] “Oracle is a powerhouse in database management systems, but it’s hardly a monopolist,” wrote analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research today. “I may well be overlooking something, but I haven’t found a compelling antitrust trigger.” [...]

  6. fullrun » Blog Archive » Re: Oracle & MySQL: Twitter calls, hacks and bloggers respond on April 20th, 2009 7:27 pm

    [...] analyst Curt Monash lined up all of the clear and present dangers — and then dismissed them, like [...]

  7. Daniel Weinreb on April 22nd, 2009 6:43 am

    I recently downloaded the free version of MySQL, and the license is the GPL. If the only version one can get is GPL’ed, then one can’t really fork it and use it in commercial products that aren’t open-source, right?

  8. Curt Monash on April 22nd, 2009 7:14 am

    Dan,

    Please see my other posts on that subject. :)

  9. יהונתן קלינגר | 7.4 מיליארד דולר של הגבלים עסקיים ‏ :: Intellect or Insanity‏ on April 26th, 2009 5:11 am

    [...] 3. במקום IBM, נכנסה לשוק אורקל, ענקית מסדי הנתונים. Oracle הציעה 7.4 מיליארד דולר בעבור סאן. החברה, שמנכ”לה, לארי אליסון, הבהיר בעבר שאינו רואה בקוד פתוח איום צריכה כעת לא רק שקוד פתוח ותוכנה חופשית אינם איום, אלא, כדברי מארק שאטלוורת’, אורקל תהיה כעת חברת התוכנה החופשית הגדולה בעולם. כלומר, אורקל שעד לפני רגע ראתה את MySQL בתור תחרות אידיאולוגית למודלים שלה, כעת עשויה להיות בכלל מונופול וכפופה לדיני הגבלים עסקיים. [...]

  10. What could or should make Oracle/MySQL antitrust concerns go away? | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on September 10th, 2009 10:53 am

    [...] the Oracle/MySQL deal was first announced, I wrote: I can probably come up with business practices that could make things very hard on Oracle/MySQL [...]

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