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The SOA version of March Madness

Rumor has it that the SOA market is on the brink of another wave of acquisitions. Oracle opened the year with its purchase of BEA Systems, but the move has yet to touch off much of anything in the way response. Possibly part of that is the deal took two major buyers off the market while Oracle ingests BEA.

Yet another part of that is the economy. Would-be buyers want to make sure they’re making smart acquisitions. What sort of revenue stream are they picking up and how much is that worth? First quarter financial results loom as a major influence in answering those two questions. That’s where the March Madness kicks in.

A niche player who can post a strong first quarter could position itself as the “gotta have it” item on the SOA market. You users out there might be thinking, “Big deal, this doesn’t really affect me.” Yet it does. If those vendors are hungry enough for quick revenue, they might be cutting some handsome deals over the next two weeks in order to pump up those balance sheets. Users might be able to land some best-of-breed technology at a discount and then have a large vendor step into place to provide ongoing support for that technology.

We know Iona Technologies is up for sale. Many larger vendors have data services and SOA testing gaps. Does HP look to flesh out its management story? Does SAP make a move into BPM? What can Tibco, Software AG and Progress Software do to push themselves over that $1 billion revenue mark? Are RIA, composite application and enterprise mashup technologies where the money is in the current market?

Don’t be surprised to see some clearance prices out there. The looming consolidation in the SOA space could create a buyer’s market.

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Don't overlook a possible buyout by an Asian or Middle-Eastern company. Iona Technologies, for exanple, would offer advantages beyond the technology itself: 1) An important role in world standards 2) the ability to offer an inexpensive on-ramp onto the SOA highway as an alternative to high priced SOA products 3) substantial consulting revenues in rapidly emerging countries