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DATE 2006-02-01

HANGOUT

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Key: Value:

Key: Value:

MESSAGE
DATE 2006-02-14
FROM Ruben Safir
SUBJECT Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Bedfellows: Oracle: Sleepycat

Oracle Bags Sleepycat

The software giant buys an open-source database company.
February 14, 2006


Oracle said Tuesday it bought open-source database company Sleepycat for
an undisclosed sum, marking another step by the company known for its
proprietary database software to expand its open-source offerings, which
are typically lower cost.



Sleepycat’s Berkeley DB open-source database will be complementary with
Oracle’s closed-source database which is embedded within applications,
Oracle said.

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Oracle has been taking steps to boost its presence in open source. In
October, the company acquired Finland-based Innobase, the maker of
InnoDB—a transactional database technology that is distributed as part
of the MySQL database. MySQL is a provider of open-source databases and
a competitor of Oracle (see Oracle Acquires Innobase).



Oracle’s stock was down $0.11 at $12.38 in recent trading.



“Sleepycat’s products enhance Oracle’s market-leading database product
family by offering enterprise-class support to customers who need to
embed a fast, reliable database at a lower cost,” said Andrew
Mendelsohn, senior vice president, Oracle database server technologies.



Privately held Sleepycat was founded in 1996 by UC Berkeley researchers
Margo Seltzer and Keith Bostic. The company has not received any venture
capital funding and has been profitable since its inception.



There was growing speculation that Oracle might acquire the Emeryville,
California-based company and possibly two other open-source
companies—Zend Technologies and JBoss (see Oracle Eyes Open-Source
Firms).



Sleepycat has adopted a hybrid model with its embedded database as it
offers both an open-source and a proprietary option to its customers.
While proprietary or closed-source software can be bought for an
expensive license fee, the source code in open-source software is freely
available, and vendors usually charge maintenance fees to customers.



An embedded database like Berkeley DB resides within business
applications, making it unnecessary for customers to separately buy
databases. The embedded database maintains itself and does not require a
database administrator, resulting in cost savings on maintenance and
licenses.



The address book and other data stored in a cell phone is a result of an
embedded database.



Tapping a Big Market

By acquiring Sleepycat, Oracle is tapping into a $2-billion market for
embedded databases, which is projected to grow to $3.2 billion in 2009,
according to research firm IDC.



In this space, Oracle faces competition from IBM, MySQL, Sybase, and
Progress Software, and the company is looking for an edge.



“We haven’t seen a great penetration from Oracle in the embedded
database market,” said Noel Yuhanna, an analyst with Forrester Research.
“[The market] has started to catch on and will grow further as more
devices store embedded databases.”



Although a market leader in databases, Oracle is feeling the heat from
IBM and Microsoft as well as open-source databases such as MySQL and
Ingres (see Database Software Goes Cheap).



“This acquisition widens their scope for database support and [shows]
that Oracle has put their foot into the door in the open-source database
market and [wants to get] the best of both worlds,” Mr. Yuhanna said.



Starting with its acquisition of PeopleSoft in early 2005, Oracle has
been on a long shopping spree. In the past 18 months, the Redwood
Shores, California-based company has spent close to $19 billion
acquiring about a dozen companies.

© 1993-2006 Red Herring, Inc. All rights reserved.

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