Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Infrastructure software vendors go shopping

(By Philip Carnelley, 11 Aug 2009, 9:30) VMware, the leading server virtualisation company, has announced it is buying the Californian Java development tool company SpringSource for $362m. VMware is in one of the hottest niches of software today – indeed, it helped to create the modern market – and its 42% growth in 2008 is one of the main reasons that its majority owner, EMC, reached #7 in our UK software rankings. SpringSource and VMware announced a partnership last December, extending VMware’s reach into virtual deployment of Web applications, particularly open source. Clearly VMware wanted this to go deeper, as it pushes its offering into support for cloud deployments.

This move could be seen as defensive as well as offensive: while VMware has built a very strong position in its niche, it faces a significant challenge from Microsoft (VMware’s CEO is long-time Microsoft platform chief, Paul Maritz). There are other competitors, of course, but Microsoft is going head-to-head, positioning its Hyper-V as a significantly lower-cost option, while moving to extend Hyper-V’s reach into the arenas of Linux and open source as it adds functionality to diminish VMware’s lead.

In separate news yesterday, BMC – #17 in our software rankings – announced it was acquiring MQSoftware, a privately owned supplier of management software for message-oriented middleware. This extends its capabilities in managing IBM mainframe-oriented data centres.

Footnote: on April Fool’s day 2008 it was announced that SpringSource was to be acquired by Microsoft, through a YouTube statement by founder Rod Johnson (see here) – news that amazed the open source community, at least until it realised what day it was!

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