The history of MySQL AB

MySQL, the open source database product that puts the "M" in LAMP, was created by MySQL AB, a company founded in 1995 in Sweden. In 2008, MySQL AB announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Sun Microsystems for approximately $1 billion.

The story of MySQL AB is pretty amazing, so I unleashed my "inner academic", did some research and compiled a timeline of MySQL AB's history. This timeline is assembled based on different resources online, such as MySQL press releases (example 1) and interviews with MySQL AB executives (example 2, example 3), etc.

Things to add? Let me know in the comments and I'll update the post.

1995

  • MySQL AB founded by Michael Widenius (Monty), David Axmark and Allan Larsson in Sweden.

2000

  • MySQL goes Open Source and releases software under the terms of the GPL. Revenues dropped 80% as a result, and it took a year to make up for it.

2001

  • Mårten Mickos elected CEO at age 38. Mårten was the CEO of a number of Nordic companies before joining MySQL, and comes with a sales and marketing background.
  • 2 million active installations.
  • Raised series A with undisclosed amount from Scandinavian venture capitalists. Estimated to be around $1 to $2 million.

2002

  • MySQL launched US headquarters in addition to Swedish headquarters.
  • 3 million active users.
  • Ended the year with $6.5 million in revenue with 1,000 paying customers.

2003

  • Raised a $19.5 million series B from Benchmark Capital and Index Ventures.
  • 4 million active installations and over 30,000 downloads per day.
  • Ended the year with $12 million in revenue.

2004

  • With the main revenue coming from the OEM dual-licensing model, MySQL decides to move more into the enterprise market and to focus more on recurring revenue from end users rather than one-time licensing fees from their OEM partners.
  • Ended the year with $20 million in revenue.

2005

  • MySQL launched the MySQL Network modeled after the RedHat Network. The MySQL Network is a subscription service targeted at end users that provides updates, alerts, notifications, and product-level support designed to make it easier for companies to manage hundreds of MySQL servers.
  • MySQL 5 ships and includes many new features to go after enterprise users (e.g. stored procedures, triggers, views, cursors, distributed transactions, federated storage engines, etc.)
  • Oracle buys Innobase, the 4-person Finnish company behind MySQL's InnoDB storage backend.
  • Ended the year with $34 million in revenue based on 3400 customers.

2006

  • Mårten Mickos confirms that Oracle tried to buy MySQL. Oracle' CEO Larry Ellison commented: "We've spoken to them, in fact we've spoken to almost everyone. Are we interested? It's a tiny company. I think the revenues from MySQL are between $30 million and $40 million. Oracle's revenue next year is $15 billion."
  • Oracle buys Sleepycat, the company that provides MySQL with the Berkeley DB transactional storage engine.
  • Mårten Mickos announces that they are making MySQL ready for an IPO in 2008 on an projected $100 million in revenues.
  • 8 million active installations.
  • MySQL has 320 employees in 25 countries, 70 percent of whom work from home.
  • Raised a $18 million Series C based on a rumored valuation north of $300 million.
  • MySQL is estimated to have a 33% market share measured in install base and 0.2% market share measured in revenue (the database market was a $15 billion market in 2006).
  • Ended the year with $50 million in revenue.

2007

  • Ended the year with $75 million in revenue.

2008

  • Sun Microsystems acquired MySQL AB for approximately $1 billion.
  • Michael Widenius (Monty) and David Axmark, two of MySQL AB's co-founders, begin to criticize Sun publicly and leave Sun shortly after.

2009

  • Mårten Mickos leaves Sun and becomes entrepreneur-in-residence at Benchmark Capital. Sun has now lost the business and spiritual leaders that turned MySQL into a success.
  • Sun Microsystems and Oracle announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire Sun common stock for $9.50 per share in cash. The transaction is valued at approximately $7.4 billion.

Comments

FGM (not verified):

For 2009, it probably makes sense to add a word or two about Monty Program AB as a sort of conclusion for the MySQL epic.

March 8, 2010
Ben Stallings (not verified):

Thanks, Dries! Why not contribute this detail to the Wikipedia entry's timeline?

March 8, 2010
Henrik Ingo (not verified):

Nice timeline. I think in 1995 MySQL (the software) was released by TCX Datakonsult (Allan), Monty Program Kb (Monty) and Detron HB (David). Only later (in 1999-2001?) did they rename and merge the companies to MySQL AB.

You should ping Kaj Arnö to get a copy of a book "The MySQL Story". All employees got it in 2008, but it has also been distributed to friends in the community.

March 8, 2010
LenZ (not verified):

Henrik, that's correct. MySQL (the project) was started in 1995, but MySQL AB (the company) was founded later (~1998 as far as I recall).

Dries, please send me a postal address by email and I'll gladly send you a copy of the "MySQL Story" (which I wrote in December 2007 in preparation for the staff meeting during which the acquisition by Sun was announced).

March 8, 2010
Anon (not verified):

There was a limited-release privately printed book published about the earlier history of MySQL AB, it came out around the same time as the Sun purchase became public.

It would aid your timeline significantly...

March 8, 2010
MZ (not verified):

Excellent time line. I think that these guys regret what they did. MySQL is a tragic example of the tactics of the big corps Oracle, Microsoft ... and a small spark of greed & deception. The early comment by oracle shows reveals it all. This should be a lesson for us all. These guys would have made 1 billion a year after if they would just have continued their path. In a way it's a sad story, although we can use MySQL today, it has lost its spirit as a free independent company. Not to loose the mood though, have to continue the fight ...

March 26, 2010
Dries:

David Skok shared some great metrics/data from MySQL. Remind me to incorporate it in this post. In the mean time, you can find it at http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/mysql-story/.

January 16, 2011

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