Oracle Closes BEA Deal

Oracle completes BEA Systems acquisition, putting pressure on Microsoft’s .NET middleware and SOA strategies.

Oracle Corp. last month officially closed its $8.5 billion acquisition of middleware and tools vendor BEA Systems. Since the deal was announced earlier this year, industry analysts have been split on whether the consolidation of two key players in the Java infrastructure market will put the squeeze on Microsoft's .NET-based middleware and service-oriented architecture (SOA) strategies.

"It's like having another IBM in the market. Microsoft competes heavily against IBM, and now with the combination of BEA and Oracle and the other acquisitions [Oracle] has made over the last couple of years, [BEA] in a sense gives Oracle a mini-IBM, if you will," says Dana Gardner, president and principal analyst with consultancy Interarbor Solutions LLC.

For its part, Microsoft's SOA strategy centers around its BizTalk Server, SQL Server and VisualStudio toolsets. Looking to step up compatibility, Microsoft has begun publishing its APIs (as outlined in its "Interoperability Pledge") and has been talking up its next-generation SOA strategy via its "Oslo" project.

Just last month, Microsoft released .NET StockTrader 2.0 with Configuration Service 2.0, with sample code, a demo app, tutorials and benchmarks to help simplify the development and deployment of SOA-based apps.

Even codejockeys who work with both Microsoft and Oracle dev tools don't think the acquisition will impact what they do. A case in point is software engineer and C# MVP Jon Skeet, who works mostly with Visual Studio 2003 and 2005, but also with tools such as Enterprise Architect, Toad -- for Oracle work -- NAnt, NUnit, Rhino Mocks and various other third-party libraries under .NET. Skeet's organization uses both Oracle application servers and Oracle databases, along with WebSphere MQ and Oracle AQ, on the IBM AS/400 platform.

Most of the components he uses to make calls to other, non-Microsoft systems or services are pretty basic. The salient point, Skeet says, is that Oracle's acquisition of BEA probably won't have "any impact" on his software development work.

The purchase of BEA could help invigorate Oracle's faltering strategy around Fusion Middleware. That is, if Oracle can manage the task of integrating overlapping technology stacks.

"If you look at product lines, Oracle bought for market share," says Mark Madsen, a principal with consultancy Third Nature Inc. "BEA's got some good products, but there's almost 100 percent overlap."

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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