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SOA and the next billion dollar baby

Michael Meehan discusses the many recent acquisitions in the SOA marketplace.

Just when you thought you had the SOA landscape sized up, Software AG went and snatched up webMethods last week. Software AG envisions itself as the next billion dollar baby in the enterprise software market. BEA Systems was the last company in the app dev space who managed that trick.

In particular, webMethods was an interesting purchase because, in the wake of its acquisition of the Infravio registry/repository, the company had been getting positive buzz for abandoning its EAI roots and putting together an appealing SOA offering. Software AG started down the SOA path in the late 1990s, focusing on XML data with its Tamino line. Together with its Adabas data management line, the German company has a strong story at the data level, something critical that is frequently forgotten in SOA planning.

Software AG also has a strong business in legacy modernization. Add the webMethods/Infravio SOA cachet to that (sorting out the redundancy with the SOA tools Software AG already has in house) and you've got what could be a solid corporate marriage. Certainly companies like Tibco Software and Progress Software, both of whom have their eyes on breaking through the billion dollar ceiling, won't want to see Software AG beat them to the punch. Expect this deal to set off a series of responses.

This week, we'll be looking into the state of the SOA market in the wake of this recent deal. Over the past 18 months it's gone from a diverse market with a lot of niche players to a realm populated mostly by giants (and hungry ones at that). Who else is going to get snatched up? What are the new app dev technologies that are coming down the pike? Is Microsoft ever going to get serious about integration that isn't trying import users into a .NET runtime and SOA governance?

If there's any one thing we can say about Software AG spending $546 million for webMethods, it's that SOA is becoming an increasingly high stakes business.

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