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Case Title:

MySQL In Sun's Orbit

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: A Ray, K Ray and A Syed

Industry: Information Technology and IT Enabled Services


Case Code: IPD0125IRC

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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During the bubble, Sun Microsystems was extremely profitable with its proprietary software. The two cash generating engines of Sun, namely Solaris and Java had catapulted Sun to become extremely profitable. But with the growing popularity of open-source software, the market became very competitive. This prompted Sun to launch Open Solaris and then Open Source Java. But with all its efforts, Sun could not break into the market of open-source software. What Sun needed was an open-source database to complete its product stack. Therefore, to fulfill the requirement, on 26 February 2008, Sun Microsystems acquired MySQL for $1 billion. This case tries to discuss Sun's strategy to break into the open-source software market. Moreover, it raises debate about the long term sustainability of this strategy.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the critical success factors of the open-source software industry.
  • To analyse the factors behind Sun's dominance in the web economy
  • To analyse the factors leading to Sun's declining market position.
  • To discuss the strategies adopted by Sun to regain its status in the Web economy.

Keywords :  Open-source software model , Proprietary database market, Opensource database market, Opensource operating systems, x86 architecture, Sun's business strategy, Sun's product portfolio, Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP

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