Enterprise middleware vendor BEA Systems has acquired WebLogic, one of the pioneers in Java development and producers of a Java-based Web application server, for $192 million (#113 million) in a stock swap deal
The move follows a recent trend of consolidation in the application server market. Last year Netscape acquired Kiva for its application server technology, which it now sells as Netscape Application Server. Sun bought NetDynamics in July this year, a start-up application server vendor which had not even become profitable at the time of the acquisition.
The increase in Ecommerce deployment has spurred a demand for transaction processing systems, a market dominated by IBM. BEA hopes to challenge IBM in this market with additions to its Tuxedo transaction processing middleware, such as a new lightweight asynchronous messaging platform codenamed "Igloo", which will include Java and SAP R/3 support. The WebLogic acquisition will strengthen BEA's Java resources and broaden its product offerings to cover low-end as well as high-end solutions.
"The WebLogic acquisition is BEA's most important strategic move since we acquired Tuxedo (from Novell) nearly three years ago," said Bill Coleman, chairman and CEO of BEA. "We are seeking to reshape the application server market. Internet applications must be low cost, easy to build, quick to deploy, but at the same time be as reliable, scalable, and manageable as mainframes. In this respect, WebLogic is an excellent complement to our middleware solutions."
Mike DeVries, vice president of marketing for Vision Software, said: "This is a brilliant move by BEA. It makes them a big player in the market."
He predicted that more consolidation was on the horizon: "The large software companies are looking to play in the application server market," he said, predicting that Novell, Oracle, IBM and Informix were all looking to acquire to fill out their offerings.
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