Feeds

Microsoft’s purchase of ProClarity – the bigger picture

Deal leaves strong competition out there

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Comment There’s a large and obvious hole in Microsoft’s line-up of functionality in SQL Server 2005: Analysis Services is a solid multi-dimensional database engine but Microsoft offers no means of graphically displaying the data it handles. The need for such tools increases hugely when dealing with multi-dimensional data: users are perfectly at home with 2-D views offered by bar charts and graphs, but visualising data in three and more dimensions becomes increasingly difficult and requires specialised software. Until now, users have had to look to third party offerings for visualisation tools.

There’s been a rumour floating round for several years that Microsoft would have liked to buy ProClarity in order to plug this gap but, as a Microsoft insider pointed out, when dealing with a privately-owned company such as ProClarity, wanting to buy is not enough; the will to sell is also required. The counter rumour has always been that Bob Lokken, founder, President and CEO was having too much fun running the company to want to sell it. However the pressure to sell (or the financial incentive) eventually proved overwhelming: Microsoft recently announced that it is to buy ProClarity Corp., though the deal still has to go through process.

Where does this leave the competition? Experience in the software industry suggests that the standard operating procedure for competitors who haven’t been bought out is to run round like headless chickens before imploding. Panorama and Temtec might be expected to behave so - but both companies look smarter than this. They can listen to the rumour mill just as well as the rest of us. That may well have encouraged them to turn their thoughts to their survival if/when ProClarity became the chosen one.

Panorama has focused, amongst other things, on developing a very high performance middle-tier engine (NovaView Intelligence Server) which is capable of supporting more than a thousand simultaneous users. The company has also been actively diversifying its user base, recently gaining certification for integration into the SAP Enterprise Portal and is currently pursing certification for SAP NetWeaver (see press release here).

Incidentally, Panorama has itself already survived being bought by Microsoft: in 1996 Microsoft bought Panorama’s multi-dimensional OLAP technology and closely-involved personnel and from this purchase formed the SQL Server multi-dimensional database engine team.

Temtec, on the other hand, appears to have adopted a different survival strategy. Its Executive Viewer software has always supported not only Analysis Services but also Hyperion’s Essbase. You think this isn’t enough? Well, Temtec clearly offers something that ProClarity doesn’t because, just a fortnight before the ProClarity buy-out was made public, Temtec announced a software distribution agreement with Microsoft. Executive Viewer will be marketed as a ‘private label version’ by Microsoft, as part of its analytical platform.

When one company is plucked from a niche market it’s rare to find the remaining companies looking in such good shape for the future. Microsoft may have harboured hopes that buying ProClarity’s visualisation software would torpedo the opposition, but in this case the opposition seems more than capable of damning the torpedoes and steaming full ahead.®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.