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We will maintain edge over IBM, says BEA. (APP Dev News Review).

Big isn't necessarily beautiful, according to BEA Systems Inc which believes it can out-innovate Java and integration rival IBM Corp despite the latter's size and vast resources.

BEA's director of product marketing for WebLogic enterprise platform John Kiger estimated his company has a two-year technology lead over IBM, while that company merges integration and application development tools. When IBM is done, Kiger predicted, BEA would have moved onto a new goal.

Kiger was speaking about BEA's position on application integration following publication of an IDC market study that places BEA second behind IBM in the field of application deployment platforms.

IDC defines an application deployment platform as an aggregate of integration and application server software. For 2002, IBM had 23.3% of the market while BEA had 17.3%.

Kiger said he expected BEA to grow its share of the integration market against IBM and so-called "niche" vendors like webMethods Inc, SeeBeyond Technologies Corp and Tibco Software Inc. webMethods, SeeBeyond and Tibco had between 2.7% and 4.9% of the application deployment platform market.

Company CEO Alfred Chuang has said previously it is BEA's goal to replace such vendors, by offering a more "mass-market" integration offering, based on WebLogic.

However, IBM represents possibly BEA's greatest challenge. The two companies have, in recent years, jockeyed for the number-one application server slot, with IBM closing the gap on BEA. It is thought inevitable by some analysts that IBM will eventually overtake BEA, knocking it into permanent number-two slot.

Kiger, though, believes technology innovation will help keep BEA ahead. He claimed a 45% increase in research and development spending during the last two years, accounting for 14% of company revenue in fiscal 2002.

That increase has gone on WebLogic Integration, Platform and Liquid Data. The products increasingly share the same security and XML stack, and in version 8.1 of WebLogic Platform will use the same development tools via WebLogic Workshop.

"We have a track record that keeps us one to two years ahead of IBM. By the time IBM catches up by converging integration and application server technologies, we will have moved to somewhere else. It doesn't stop," Kiger said.
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Publication:MarketWatch: Application Development
Date:Jun 27, 2003
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