A ''tipping point'' is a concept, product or idea that becomes a hot commodity that attracts everyone's attention, interest or inspiration. There are always specific reasons and factors that are not easily identifiable why one product becomes a tipping point and others do not. Products not considered a tipping point usually never become a tipping point and ofter never understand why they didn't. There are tons of examples of this. VHS versus Beta, MP3 players versus iPods, Blue Ray versus HD DVD. The list is endless.
MySQL is "the" hot tipping point product in the IT industry. MySQL is an incredibly popular open source part of the LAMP stack. There are additional open source products like PostgreSQL, MaxDB, Firebird, Ingres, Apache Derby, etc. No database in the industry is creating the buzz, excitement and interest that MySQL does. People can debate the feature/functionality, performance, etc. between the different databases. Make any comparison you want, none of the other databases that are compared to MySQL are going to be the "tipping point" MySQL is.
MySQL is a very unique organization with employees that believe in disrupting the industry with innovativeness and new ways of doing things. MySQL employees have been raised with the concept of open source, sharing and caring about their contributions to open source. I do not believe their are many companies in the world that have the "global team" concept that MySQL does. I interact with MySQL team members in Sweden and Germany as easily as team members in my home city. It is the uniqueness of the MySQL employees that are creating the tipping point.
Web 2.0 environments are increasing exponentially in popularity and MySQL is in the center of the storm of this exciting growth. MySQL has the potential to be the center of innovativeness in Sun the way NeXT was the center of innovation in Apple. Sun has a very powerful engine for future growth in MySQL. There is one thing MySQL has that no other database has. It has the tipping point.