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After-Christmas Sale: Everything must go! January 17, 2008

Posted by Sacha in IT.

Everything Must Go!Happy 2008, etc.

I haven’t been blogging much in the past few weeks: I’ve been busy working on JBoss’s plan for next fiscal year (FY09), JBoss World Orlando (4 weeks away!) and the current transformation of RHT into discrete business units. Still, today’s announcements are a good enough justification to restart blogging.


For BEAS, it was a simple matter of WHEN and HOW MUCH, and this, despite Larry’s very subtle negotiation tactics. Now that it did happen, the WHEN doesn’t matter anymore. As for the HOW MUCH, no need to rely on wicked free cash flow models here, I bet Larry woke up one morning and simply decided that he couldn’t wait for Icahn to finish his job. He wanted his BEA. Now.

  • Charles, how much did we offer last time?
  • 17$
  • How much did Alfred want?
  • 21$
  • What’s the average of the two?
  • 19$, Larry…
  • OK, go back to Alfred with 19$ and let’s close it
  • Shouldn’t we wait for Icahn to finish his…
  • Do you know where I left the keys of my boat’s hangar? I am pretty certain I left them on my desk…

Thank you for simplifying things Larry, a great help.


(First of all, congrats to the team at MySQL, you did the right thing and hitting a 10 digits price is amazing and a great victory for OSS valuations.)

So, in the case of MySQL, it is not so much the HOW MUCH, but the WHY that I fail to fully grasp. Make no mistake, I get the good ol’ dream of the complete FOSS stack (I am also contaminated by that virus); but while it is appealing in theory, it usually fails to match the reality of most candidate companies. And here, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Sure, one could argue that with such a low valuation (lower than their revenue) and $3.5 billion in the bank, it was a good time for the RHT-wannabe to complete their FOSS stack. But the database market is very specific, with its own set of rules, its own sales cycle, its own decision makers and this increased complexity is certainly not going to help streamline Sun’s execution, especially in sales. They’ll probably be able to leverage their channels pretty fast, and this can be powerful given MySQL’s strong presence in OEM, but the same tactic won’t easily apply to the enterprise DB market. Consequently, I still fail to grasp the obvious synergies that were hinted at during SUN’s quarterly call (peace of mind, storage, servers, etc.). It is going to be interesting to see how they execute on that one.

My bet is that 2008 is going to be a year of accelerated consolidation in the software market. Let’s keep a close eye on the dominos.



P.S.: While reading posts on these two topics, I found an article on TSS that was referring to a blog entry from Professorial Rod Johnson. I found it amusing on several fronts. First, I really liked the not-so-subliminal call for an exit strategy. I couldn’t imagine that the AS-agnostic SpringSource’s CEO would go so far in exhibiting his love for BEA. As a final teaser, most probably to hint at who their common enemy is, there is this great quote: “The vision and leadership at Sun suggests that they will make this acquisition a success–unlike Red Hat with JBoss, due to incompatible sales models and culture clashes.” Speaking of cultural clash and incompatible sales model, has Rod realized yet that SUN is … a hardware company?



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