MySQL's Mickos: Open Source in the Enterprise: Page 2

Posted November 17, 2006

James Maguire

James Maguire

(Page 2 of 5)

Q: We hear about millions of free downloads. How does that equate to revenue? How many of the downloads sign up for a service subscription?

We don’t see a direct connection there and we have never stated that there would be one. We think that the downloads are a demonstration of usage and momentum. But we do know that the vast majority will not lead to a paying customer.

mysql, open source database, MySQL CEO Marten Mickos

Marten Mickos, MySQL CEO

We have enormous download numbers, but not all downloads give rise to a new production installation. Many downloads are to upgrade an existing one, many downloads are just for fun. Some people will download it twice because they didn’t remember they did it yesterday.

Q: What percentage of free downloads turn into paying accounts?

I know some of the numbers but I don’t disclose them. But we have roughly one thousand non-paying users for every paying customer. And I happen to know that the ratio is changing favorably. So we see the business side growing ever faster.

Tech Quotes
“Every morning 50,000 people go to work for Oracle, and every morning 50,000 people go to download our software.”

–Marten Mickos

But that was expected. Because when you first launch a technology, you reach the pioneers and the open source people. That’s the first area you cover, and you get millions of people but you don’t get millions of customers. Now we’re getting much stronger into the enterprise, where customers will pay upfront. They will say, ‘Whatever I do, I’ll pay you because I don’t want to run the risk of being on my own.’

In total, it’s about 50,000 downloads every single day. It’s enormous. Recently it’s gone up and it’s higher.

[He compares that number of downloads to the number of employees at Oracle.] Oracle has 50,000 employees. Every morning 50,000 people go to work for Oracle, and every morning 50,000 people go to download our software. (Laughs) I didn’t pay for them to do that.

Q: How has revenue growth been at MySQL AB? [The privately held company doesn’t disclose revenue, but this report stated the company earned $12 million in 2003.]

It has been very encouraging. We’ve grown over the last five years, on average, about 100 percent per year.

Q: Really, one hundred percent per year?

We started small. But we are the fastest growing database company on the planet.

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