Charles Engelke's Blog

July 10, 2003

Complacency

Filed under: OSCON 2003 — Charles Engelke @ 12:45 pm

In her keynote this morning, Stormy Peters mentioned a recent Wall Street
Journal
article
about MySQL’s threat to Oracle. You’ll need a paid subscription to the
Journal to read the article, but one of the quotes sounded familiar to me:

Ken Jacobs, Oracle’s vice president for product strategy, says MySQL’s
offering “is certainly interesting, but I don’t see it as competition for
Oracle. Not now and not for some time to come.”

Where did I hear something similar recently. Oh, yes. I think it was at
Andrew Tobias’s website as a
quote of the day. I couldn’t find the wording there, but a Google search
found it elsewhere:

“The United States will not be a threat to us for decades–not in 1945 but
at the earliest in 1970 or 1980-90.
Adolf Hitler to Vyacheslav Molotov, November 12, 1940

And no, I am not comparing Oracle to the Third Reich, just
the complacent attitudes exhibited in each quote. Jacobs goes on to say
that

Oracle doesn’t specifically target the types of customers that are using
MySQL to run simple Web sites, focusing instead on “mission-critical,
transaction-processing applications” that crunch large amounts of data
and require complex statistical analysis.

Maybe Oracle is only targeting those really big needs, but I’ll bet that
the lion’s share of their revenues come from the many, many small guys who don’t need
that much power, but don’t see many options other than Oracle and other
commercial database vendors.

By the way, the article says that many analysts think MySQL will hurt
Microsoft SQLServer sooner than it will Oracle. I don’t agree. I see a big
part of SQLServer’s user base as people looking for “all inclusive”
solutions. They want the clarity of getting their operating system, office
software, development tools, and servers all from one vendor, rather than
dealing with mixing and matching different offerings. And a lot of
SQLServer users have moved up from Access, which is a pretty easy path. So
I think MySQL should worry Oracle more than it does Microsoft.

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