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Brio Bought Sqribe Out Of Desperation, Says Business Objects.

By Siobhan Kennedy

Brio Technology Inc's acquisition of Sqribe Technologies Inc was done out of desperation and doesn't give it any edge over rivals as the company claims, a spokesperson for Business Objects said this week. Moreover, Business Objects says the business intelligence software market is a two-horse race between itself and Cognos and that Brio hardly ever appears when pitching for new business.

Ceferino Lamb, Business Objects' senior product marketing manager, was speaking to ComputerWire last week, when both Business Objects and Brio released the latest versions of their BI software suites. "This is very much a two-horse race," he said, "we really don't hear much from Brio." But Brio tells a different story. Back in May, at an analyst meeting in New York, the company's president and CEO, Yorgen Edholm, said Brio's acquisition of Sqribe would give it enterprise reporting technologies that its main rivals, Business Objects and Cognos, would need at least two years to develop.

According to Edholm, Brio is a force to be reckoned with and he says when the integration of Sqribe technologies is completed, some time next year, the company will be the only vendor offering customers a one-stop shop for their business intelligence needs. "I'm a marketing guy and if I were in their position, I'd probably say the same thing," Lamb said. Rather than Sqribe's technology boosting Brio's offerings, Lamb says, it's more likely to detract from its portfolio. "Ninety percent of Sqribe's business is old SQR stuff, old mainframe and legacy type reporting that Sybase wanted to get rid of," he said. "If you look closely at their business, probably only five-to-ten percent is the nice new sexy Java stuff." He said the Sqribe acquisition was designed to combat the release of Business Objects' own business reporting software, Broadcast agent. "It's better, new technology based on Corba and open standards. Brio only made the acquisition out of desperation because it saw where we were going."

And when it comes to points of comparison between Business Objects' and Brio's new enterprise suites, Lamb doesn't even waste the time, preferring instead to pit his company's software against Cognos'. But at least one analyst with a technology- focused investment bank in New York we spoke to said Lamb's claims were unfounded. "People I talk to at Business Objects used to say Brio was no competition a year ago, but now I would say the contrary," he said. "The sense I get is that Business Objects is seeing a little less of Cognos and a lot more aggressiveness from's definitely a three-horse race." He went on to dismiss Lamb's claims that because Sqribe's report writer was based on SQR programming it meant the software was out of date. "It is fair to say that most of Sqribe's technology isn't done in a modern, object-oriented language, but what they're [Business Objects] downplaying, or just not aware of, is that the older technology is much better, much more scaleable and much more powerful, and that's what the key to this market is," he said.

Other vendors, like Actuate Corp, which sells an object-oriented reporting tool, have experienced rapid growth, the analyst admitted, but that's only from early adopters. "You won't find a large, global company doing its mission critical reporting using object-oriented programming. SQR is mainstream, everyone [in the BI field] knows how to program in that language." He added, "People should make no mistakes, Brio is leap-frogging both Business Objects and Cognos in terms of reporting, it's blowing them both completely out of the water."
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 6, 1999
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