Sun Microsystems has bitten the bullet and extended its Windows NT integration with the acquisition of application server vendor NetDynamics for an estimated $200m (£121m).
The purchase will add NetDynamics' product range to the software division of Sun. The new acquisition's flagship application server software typically directs data traffic between a network and corporate web server. The majority of its existing customer base of around 650 companies use the version of the product ported to NT.
Analysts believe the move represents an attempt by Sun to address one of its most serious strategic weaknesses - lack of interoperability with NT. "Reading between the lines this is a fairly major acquisition by Sun.
It has recently been softening its position towards Microsoft and NT.
This move is pragmatic and reflects recent admissions that NT is here and will not disappear because Sun ignores it," said Clive Longbottom, strategy consultant at CSL Consultancy Services.
NetDynamics' range also conforms to Microsoft's Common Object Model development framework, in addition to Sun's Java. Sun stressed it was looking to increase integration of NetDynamics' software with its Java platform by incorporating support for Enterprise Java Beans.
Sun denied the purchase represented a reversal of its sometimes strongly voiced criticism of NT. "This is not news for Sun in terms of producing cross-platform products. We already sell products such as firewalls for NT. NetDynamics offers us a middle tier for our Java technology," said Guy Martin, product marketing manager at Sun's software division.
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