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Integration slows Sun in platform race. (APP Dev News Review).

More than a year into its application server and web services makeover, Sun Microsystems Inc's middleware strategy appears to be slowed by integration work while key competitors either stabilize or experience growth.

An IDC report into application server and integration server software found the company lost ground in 2002, while Oracle Corp established itself in a fight for third place.

Both companies, though, clearly lagged BEA Systems Inc and IBM Corp, which came second and first in IDC's survey.

IDC's report, Application Deployment Platform Software Market, 2000 to 2002, has wrapped application server and integration server platform products into an overall category called Application Deployment Platform (ADP).

In past years, it was in the application server market that BEA and IBM battled for number one and two slot, while Oracle and Sun battled for third and fourth ranking.

However, vendors have been actively integrating their application servers with other products, such as portals and integration software, blurring separate product lines and increasing product interdependencies.

IDC's report charts the year when Sun began its software and web services rejuvenation under executive vice president Jonathan Schwartz, appointed in April 2002.

While subscribing to the mantra that application servers will become subsumed by the platform, Schwartz believes Sun will also become the largest player in application server volume shipments under the new strategy. His faith is based partly on Sun's decision to integrate entry-level versions of the product with Solaris.

IDC's report will make uncomfortable reading, indicating Sun's lackluster middleware performance prior to Schwartz's appointment has continued unabated. Sun's ADP market share fell 46.9% in 2002 to 2.6%. Oracle, meanwhile, grew 8% to 9.5%.

BEA, meanwhile, is number two with 17.3%, up 9.6%, and IBM is number one with 23.3%, up 17.5%. IDC's figures are based on license revenue and related service fees, but exclude services such as training.

IDC's ADP definition appears somewhat weighted in favor of integration vendors. Tibco Inc, webMethods Inc, Sybase Inc, SeeBeyond Technologies Inc and Iona all have ranking in IDC's figures, below Oracle and above Sun.
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Publication:MarketWatch: Application Development
Date:Jun 27, 2003
Previous Article:J2ME fragmentation "thing of the past" says JCP. (APP Dev News Review).
Next Article:Sun looks both ways on Java. (APP Dev News Review).

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