Sun Microsystems’ acquisition of Forte Software on Monday could result in the death of the development tools supplier’s newly launched SynergJ application server, which was due to ship in October.
The purchase, which is valued at about $540 million, is due to close by the second quarter of Sun’s fiscal year 2000, which ends on 31 December next year. Forte will be operated as a Sun subsidiary under the umbrella of its software platforms and products division.
But according to analysts, SynergJ may be dropped in favour of the Sun/Netscape Alliance’s own application server, iPlanet.
Carl Zetie, analyst with Giga Information Group, said the two products would have competed head to head if Sun had not purchased Forte. "Its kind of strange - Sun has this Java 2 Enterprise Edition application server, and Forte also has a Java 2 Edition enterprise application server, which was due to hit the market before Sun’s. I expect that SynergJ, if not killed, will be deemphasised. We may see SynergJ come out as scheduled as a safety guard, but the emphasis will be turned to the iPlanet application server when it is launched," he explained.
And Ed Zander, Sun’s president and chief operating officer, refused to expand on any roadmaps for Forte’s product line until the deal was finalised. But Zetie said the acquisition was a positive one for Forte. "Forte has struggled to stay profitable - this gives it a sugar daddy with deep pockets. But I’m glad Sun has decided to run Forte as a separate subsidiary. In the past, with other software acqusitions, Sun has not shown itself to be a particularly good stepparent. In the past, it has had problems - with NetDynamics for example. Its a hardware culture versus a software culture," he explained.
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