HP acquiring BEA Systems?
by Steve Anglin
According to TheServerSide.com's Floyd Marinescu: "A Forrester Research Report entitled 'Web Services Platform Shootout' says IBM and Microsoft have the best Web Services strategy and platforms and labels Sun Microsystems as falling behind. The report also predicted that BEA might be a target for acquisition from companies such as Sun, SAP, HP. BEA officials quickly dismissed the prediction."
It's a prediction that makes sense. Specifically, I believe HP will likely acquire BEA Systems over the next year or two, depending on timing, BEA stock price, and more.
It makes sense. HP already gutted its own Java middleware division and strategy. Remember Bluestone? It wasn't making an impact in the market share or with HP's server sales. Instead, HP is betting on a market share leader in BEA. By bundling BEA Systems' Java middleware, WebLogic, with its servers, HP is offering its customers a complete hardware-middleware solution. Also, some former HP executives have migrated to BEA's board of directors and management.
What about HP's vested interests in .NET. Well, HP is also bundling many of its other servers with Windows and IIS for those clients who prefer to develop and deploy with .NET. HP is both a Java and .NET shop. HP is really the only major vendor that plays both sides of the fence while IBM is firmly entrenched in Linux/Java and Sun is Solaris/Java, although Sun is making a mover to Linux as well with its Cobalt server boxes.
In the long-run, HP is better positioned with its Compaq acquistion giving it more access to a large Windows consumer and business client base along with investment from Microsoft to grow .NET among this base. And for the Java base of clients, HP will certainly be at an advantage if they acquire BEA Systems and its WebLogic application server middleware/software suite, which includes IDE and more. The only thing that may be missing in this suite is a database. That's where a company like Oracle or even Sybase comes in. Look for HP to acquire Oracle or Sybase, or BEA to merge with Sybase as part of a HP acquisition of BEA.
IBM, look out. At least IBM has the strong Java and Web services client base and product following with WebSphere and DB2. IBM and Microsoft are dictating the Web services specification through the W3C standards body and Web services consortium. Sun now trading under $ 3 per share is in a far worst position with Sun ONE middleware/software suite trailing in market share behind BEA, IBM and at times Oracle. Web services are a problem for Sun because they're strangely not a primary player on the W3C or in the new consortium founded mainly by IBM and Microsoft. Additionally, Sun doesn't have a competitive or market leading database product to complete its suite offerings. Moreover, Sun has banked too much on the success of Solaris, and may also be late to the Linux party with its Cobalt servers, but it's better late than never. Is Dell still in the picture for Sun as a possible acquisition target?
Bottom line, if HP acquires BEA, HP will be as competitive, if not more, with IBM. Sun, the other major server vendor, will be third of these three -- the Big 3 server vendors.
What do you think of a HP acquistion of BEA; and how will this impact the market?
Last time I ran Java applications on HP-UX servers they were slow, slow, slow. Without a better JVM implementation this is going nowhere.