EnterpriseDB spoiling for the wrong fight

EnterpriseDB continues to pick a fight with MySQL, despite the fact that even success would not give it what it needs: revenue.

Pop quiz:

You are a new startup, looking to break into a big market. To do so you should:

a) Focus on differentiating against and beating the biggest vendor in that market
b) Focus on differentiating against and beating the most successful tiny vendor in that market
c) Focus on creating a compelling value differentiation from all other vendors in the market and disrupt the economics of that market

Answer? It could be a mixture of "a" and "c," but I'd be hard-pressed to agree with any strategy built on "b." Unfortunately, EnterpriseDB continues to fixate on MySQL, a growing but still tiny gnat in the grand scheme of the database market, when it really should be focused on where the dollars are: Oracle.

EnterpriseDB used to do this, of course. That was once its big claim to fame: Drop-in compatibility with Oracle at a fraction of the cost. Now? Well, let's just say its "Great Debate" between itself and...no one from MySQL strikes me as a sham, and one that is guaranteed to get it roughly $0 in revenue.

Hint to aspiring open-source companies: Your competition isn't other open-source software. That's not where the dollars are (yet). Your competition is the inefficiencies and excessive pricing of the proprietary software world. That's where the "great debate" is.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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