MySQL Open Source Database in 2004

By Robert Burgelman, Sami Inkinen, Christof Wittig
2004 | Case No. SM124
In 2004, MySQL was a small $10M Scandinavian software company that had come into a position to seriously challenge the big three IT companies IBM, Microsoft and Oracle in their high margin, $10Bn database business. The reason for this was a new phenomenon in the software industry called open source that opened opportunities for new entrants to challenge the incumbents and gain a foothold in a low-cost segment of the market. This case gives the opportunity to study the forces that would determine whether MySQL would be able to change the database software category in such a way as Linux had done in the server operating system space. As MySQL relied on a low cost business model with a global, virtual organization, the case also frames the question whether this innovative, Internet based business model could be scaled into a large profitable growth company.
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