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BEA buys WebLogic

Deal follows increased enterprise vendor interest in Web application servers

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BEA Systems, the enterprise middleware vendor, is acquiring privately-held WebLogic, a developer of Web application servers, in a $192.5 million stock transaction deal. The acquisition rounds off BEA's offerings by making it possible for it to offer less-expensive e-commerce middleware than Tuxedo, BEA's last major acquisition three years ago. At the same time, the 800 customers of WebLogic should have a better growth path to M3 and Tuxedo if BEA does a good job of providing an easy upgrade path. Such an acquisition looked increasingly likely after Netscape's acquisition of Kiva Software last year, and Sun's July acquisition of NetDynamics. The acquisition confounds those who might have thought that Java was looking sickly, since WebLogic's application server is strongly Java-based. WebLogic is the oldest Java startup, and its application server was the first in the market to support Enterprise Java Beans. It supports ten out of the 12 Enterprise Java APIs, as well as all of the EJB 1.0 specs and options, according to BEA. In addition, BEA will be gaining native support for COM/ActiveX and other proprietary Microsoft technology. WebLogic also gains access to BEA's CORBA and legacy connectivity. The deal should be final in October, with BEA setting up a new division called BEA WebXpress, to be headed by Alfred Chuang, one of the BEA founders and BEA's CTO. ® click for more stories

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