[From BusinessWeek Online
MySQL, maker of the popular but lightweight open-source software, has a big new ally in SAP, which sees an opportunity to push its own interests
At first glance, Marten Mickos would hardly seem a revolutionary. The gentle Scandinavian has a square, friendly face and soft diction. But as the CEO of MySQL, a Swedish open-source database software upstart, Mickos carries a big stick. He claims 4 million MySQL installations worldwide and 30,000 downloads of the software per day. That makes MySQL by far the planet's most widely distributed open-source database. Mickos also says his 70-person company has 4,000 paying customers around the world who ante up (at rock-bottom rates) to buy MySQL support and licenses.
To date, though, MySQL has been viewed mainly as a cheap database for running Web sites and as relatively unsophisticated compared to the whiz-bang wares of the database Big Three, Oracle (ORCL ), IBM (IBM ) and Microsoft (MSFT ). Further, MySQL was never seen as an apple-cart tipper on the order of Linux. But Mickos and his minions served notice to the database sector on May 27 when MySQL announced an alliance with German software giant SAP (SAP ). Then on June 3, MySQL announced a $19.5 million venture-capital financing round including marquee Silicon Valley VC firm Benchmark Capital.
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