It has been quite a week. First, SAP sets its sights on Business Objects and now for about the same amount of money, Oracle is ready to swallow BEA. Indeed, it looks like the world of enterprise software is continuing to consolidate. So, what do I think? I actually think that Oracle’s decision to buy BEA is a smart move. Oracle needs the depth of middleware and business process software that are two strengths of BEA’s platform. I have spoken with Oracle customers who have not been happy with Fusion middleware. Therefore, the BEA acquisition should strengthen Oracle’s infrastructure assets. Remember that one of BEA’s original assets was AT&T’s Tuxedo distributed transaction processing software suite.
AcquaLogic , BEA’s services integration and business process management platform is well regarded among customers. A few years ago BEA bought Fuego, a very well designed business process management engine.
I could go on for a long time talking about the depth of the BEA software environment. Both its transaction management and business process platform are the jewels in the crown that will benefit Oracle — especially in its Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) strategy.
So, let me get to the bottom line. Here are my conclusions about the Oracle move:
1. Oracle is moving to pick up a strong middleware platform. It has the potential to fix some of the problems with the Fusion platform.
2. It will be a more complicated integration task than some of Oracle other acquisitions. Oracle will have to rationalize its work on Fusion middleware with BEA’s offerings. This will take some time.
3. The comparison between Oracle and SAP’s acquisition moves are very interesting. While SAP has bought a BI platform that will have to be kept separate from its ERP business, Oracle’s purchase will be much closer to its core strategy. The money isn’t that different.
4. BEA was in an uncomfortable position in the market. It has been a player with some impressive acquisitions and leadership. However, it was never able to break out as a leader in terms of revenue. It made its mark with WebLogic — the leading application server. However, it was never able to break out to be viewed by customers as a overall leader — despite some very nice acquisitions.
I expect that this acquisition will go through. I do not expect any other company to come up with an offer. HP, for example, that has been mentioned as a suitor, is unlikely to move in this direction.
I thought that Dana Gardner’s blog today was a well constructed analysis. I agree with many of his points. But don’t think that an HP counter offer is likely. I do think that his view of the interactions between other players will be impacted by this move.
My bottom line: I think that there will be major ripples from this move by Oracle. IBM will not sit still for long. Will IBM increase its alliances with other players — I think so. What does this mean for Tibco? I have talked to customers lately who have been buying Tibco for both its business process and scalable SOA middleware platform. Is Tibco in play? Will SAP and IBM strengthen their relationship?