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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Support for fundamental web services standards such as SOAP and WSDL will become a "must have" feature of application server software platform (ASSP) by the end of 2002, according to the latest report from industry analyst firm International Data Corp (IDC).

The Framingham, Massachusetts-based firm said that the majority of vendors have now added basic web services capabilities to their ASSP products, and believed that it will become virtually impossible to sell an ASSP product that does not have at least basic support. It also believed that the increasing interest in deploying web services could help drive application software sales.

The report, which is entitled Western European Application Server Software Platform Market Forecast and Analysis, 2002-2006, compares ASSP market growth in Western Europe with the rest of the world. IDC said that during 2000 and early 2001, the ASSP market enjoyed dynamic growth and attracted a large number of vendors. However, the IT downturn last year caused worldwide market growth to dwindle to 10.5%. Growth in Western Europe for 2001 was a disappointing 10.6%, while the US market stagnated at 0.1% growth, according to IDC. Other regions were not as badly impacted and achieved more respectable growth rates of 33.8% (Asia/Pacific) and 59.9% (rest of world).

Forecast growth for 2001 to 2006 is rather modest, with initial growth for 2001-2002 of slightly over 20%, falling to around 12% by 2005-2006. IDC believed that the market in recovery is likely to become commoditized and the number of vendors will consolidate.

It also predicted that vendors will rely on revenue from higher level products based on ASSPs to retain their profitability, and that basic ASSP will be provided as a freely downloadable product, or some of the application server functionality will be absorbed into the operating system.

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