Recently, Oracle stole a little the show on the database market by acquiring Innobase and Sleepycat, who are producers of two storage engines (InnoDB and BerkeleyDB) that are in use by MySQL.
Now there seems to be a clear response. MySQL has hired former Firebird developer Jim Starkey and MySQL has a new CTO: Taneli Otala - read Kaj Arnö's interview with Taneli.
The final statement on this interview declares a clear goal: "Definitely. I want to be part of the team building the world's best database!". The times when MySQL targeted itself mainly to drive small and medium web based applications are definitely over!
The fact that MySQL is hireing new developers is just another indication that underlines that MySQL is moving forward towards the "big competitors".
By the way - have you figured out the new features of MySQL 5.1?
There's also a new page at db4free.net that gives a little introduction to the new features of MySQL 5.1 with the intention, to encourage db4free.net's users to test the new features and help to get MySQL 5.1 free of bugs.