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 $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.
- The MySQL project was started by Michael Widenius (Monty), David Axmark and Allan Larsson. For the first 6 years it was commercially represented by TCX, a company owned by one of the 3 founders. Monty was in Finland, David and Allan in Sweden.
- 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.
- 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 a €4 million series A from Scandinavian venture capitalists.
- MySQL AB and its founders were sued by Progress / NuSphere. MySQL AB countersued as Progress had violated the GPL license.
- 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.
- 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.
- MySQL AB enters into a partnership with SAP (which will end in 2007). Several features in MySQL 5 were produced with SAP in mind.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
For the most part, the Sleepycat acquisition was a non-event for MySQL AB and users of MySQL.
- Mårten Mickos announces that they are making MySQL ready for an IPO in 2008 on a 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.
- Ended the year with $75 million in revenue.
- 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.
- 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.
February 2016 update: After 6 years, I made several small adjustments based on feedback from Mårten Mickos! It's also worth noting that MySQL is still going strong 8 years after the acquisition by Sun. MySQL is still used by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia and virtually every Drupal and WordPress site. Engineering is led by Tomas Ulin who joined MySQL AB back in 2003. The whole business is led by Richard Mason who joined MySQL AB in 2005. The team has grown, but at the core are the same people as before. The team is distributed, as always. The optimizer has been largely rewritten by a team in Norway that was added to the MySQL team when the company was acquired by Sun. NoSQL features have been added.