Oracle Acquires Innobase OY

Oracle recently announced that is has acquired Innobase. For those who have never heard of Innobase, they are lead by Heikki Tuuri and develop InnoDB. InnoDB brings transactions, row-level locking, foreign keys and other ACID features to MySQL. Who uses InnoDB? Sites like Yahoo! finance, Wikipedia and Google among many many others. LQ has been looking into it quite seriously lately too (the one thing holding us back was the lack of FULLTEXT support, but we can work around that). Until now, InnoDB and MySQL were fairly tightly coupled. You have to think this will soon change and there will likely be at least one additional front end for InnoDB released by Oracle at some point. Beyond that, Oracle is clearly not going to be as receptive to MySQL AB as Heikki was. Despite their public comment, MySQL can't be too happy about this one. They are now beholden to Oracle to supply their only transactional backend. That's not a good position to be in. I have no idea why MySQL didn't acquire Innobase a long time ago, but I'm sure there's a story there. The Oracle press release does state that “InnoDB is not a standalone database product: it is distributed as a part of the MySQL database. InnoDB's contractual relationship with MySQL comes up for renewal next year. Oracle fully expects to negotiate an extension of that relationship.” At a minimum, I'd guess the terms won't be as good for MySQL AB as the current ones. You have to wonder what the Oracle play is here. Will they release an “OSS” or “community” Oracle with InnoDB as the backend? Did they do this to crush a competitor, as with the Peoplesoft and J.D. Edwards acquisitions? Or is there more to it? This could be a move to attempt to hurt SAP, which recently aligned itself quite closely with MySQL AB with the MaxDB release. SAP is really one of the only main competitors Oracle has left in some spaces. I have to admit I'm a bit skeptical on this one and I hope MySQL AB comes out alright, as I really like the product and the company. Sure, InnoDB is GPL – but that just gets you the current code. With something this complicated, you still need the expertise to continue to develop that code and much of that will surely be locked up at Oracle now. You have to assume this acquisition had something to do with the recent “MySQL wants to be Ikea of the database market” comment from Marten Mickos. If anyone has any more information on this one, be it on or off the record, I'd love to hear about it.
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–jeremy

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