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'Other' is a rounding error

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

BEA Systems Inc's attempts to be taken seriously in application integration against IBM, will not see the Java up-start adopt at least one key tactic employed by its heavyweight rival - acquisition,

writes Gavin Clarke

.

Tod Nielsen, chief marketing officer at BEA Systems, ruled out acquisition of small and niche integration specialists, struggling for survival. He believes acquisition would fail to enhance BEA's WebLogic Platform from a technology perspective.

Instead, Nielsen told ComputerWire in a recent interview, acquisition would serve only to give BEA a "brand name and a customer list."

On the customer front, BEA has claimed in a recent PR push, that its business is already growing - with 160 new customers in the first two fiscal quarters of 2002.

Acquisition is a hot topic for BEA. The company is either rumored to be a target for acquisition, most recently at the hands of Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett Packard Co, or it is rumored to be on the hunt.

Intense speculation still surrounds BEA's increasingly close partnership with Scotts Valley, California-based rapid application development (RAD) specialist Borland Software Corp.

Acquisition of an integration vendor would seem fair, given today's economic climate. Many integration vendors are trading at a loss, while some are facing restructuring, meaning pickings are ripe.

Of BEA and IBM, it is the latter which has set the overall pace for vendor acquisitions. The company announced acquisitions of three vendors - outside integration - during the last three months. In June and May IBM also announced packaged integration products for vertical markets and WebSphere Business Integration 4.1, all of which are based on technologies from its $129m Crossworlds Software acquisition in October 2000.

Nielson, though, clearly believes BEA's in house brains - culled from Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp via Crossgain and the Java community - means that BEA WebLogic Integration stands on its own merits. Nielsen is himself ex-Microsoft. Additionally, the platform uses integration APIs from Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.3.

Partnering is BEA's preferred approach, he insisted. "Our strategy has always been we would work with tools providers because we are in the platform business."

"At some point in the future there will be one to two significant leaders in integration," Nielsen said, clearly in the belief BEA would be one of those two. "In the server and platform space [surveys say] it's us versus IBM. Everyone else is an 'other'. Other is a rounding error in the customers' mind," he said.

© ComputerWire

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