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Read Four Hundred Stuff for the Latest i5 Announcements
IBM is getting ready to make a second round of eServer i5 and i5/OS announcements. Exactly what is in the July 13 announcements tomorrow was unclear at press time, but you can rest assured that we will provide full coverage of the announcements in Four Hundred Stuff, our products newsletter.
By the way, Tim Alpers, IBM's eServer i5 product development team leader, is hosting an iSeries Nation Web cast that covers the latest enhancements in the eServer i5, whatever they might be. The program is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. EST and will last approximately one hour. Advance registration is necessary.
What Happens if Oracle Wins the PeopleSoft Antitrust Lawsuit?
Oracle and the Department of Justice rested their cases in the antitrust lawsuit that the Justice Department brought against the database maker and application software provider in an attempt to block its $7.7 billion hostile takeover bid of rival PeopleSoft. The case has been something of a circus, with confidential documents being released that indicate Microsoft tried to acquire application industry juggernaut SAP, and IBM freaking out that the waves of consolidation in the industry could leave it out in the cold.
U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker is expected to take a final round of briefs on July 20, and sometime before the summer is over he will rule on the case. The Justice Department has argued that an Oracle acquisition of PeopleSoft would limit the market for high-end financial and human resources software to two players, Oracle and SAP, which would in turn allow Oracle to raise prices. Oracle has argued that there is lot of competition and choice in the market, and that no matter what Microsoft says, it has aspirations in the enterprise application space.
The funny thing is that, in many ways, Oracle made a better case than the Justice Department. And now the question is, what happens to the application industry if Oracle prevails in court and is allowed to acquire PeopleSoft? Specifically, will the European Union try to step on the deal? Will Microsoft actually then buy SAP? And does an Oracle acquisition of PeopleSoft now include the JDE software suites, or will that be spit back out again? (Remember, Oracle agreed to buy PeopleSoft before JDE had been eaten by PeopleSoft.) This could get messy.
Open Source Eclipse 3.0 Integrated Development Environment Arrives
The open source Eclipse Foundation has announced that Eclipse Platform 3.0 is generally available. Eclipse is not just a development tool but also a framework other tools can snap into, in order to provide a consistent user environment for programmers. The idea behind Eclipse 3.0 is to use technologies that allow Java applications to be created within Eclipse, but to provide a look and feel that is consistent with the Unix, Linux, Windows, or other platform on which the Java user interface is deployed. This is accomplished through Eclipse's Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT); Linux and Windows platforms can also embed Swing widgets (Swing is another GUI standard) in their applications.
SWT is based on the idea that a common (if somewhat cruder) set of graphical elements that work on all platforms and yield nearly identical GUIs is better than the Swing approach, which links into the graphical capabilities of specific operating systems to make the best screens each operating system can deliver, that look as much alike as possible (but not identical). There was a bit of a religious war on this issue, until Eclipse decided to support both SWT and Swing. (See "Eclipse Visual Editor Project Unites Java GUI Methods" for more on that fight.)
In addition to the new Eclipse workbench, the related C/C++ Development Tools project has enhanced its code editing and navigation tools to include better string searches, configurable code completion, a C/C++ class browser, and a refactoring feature that cascades code changes from one module to anywhere in a project where that code is reused. The code debugger also presents source and assembly code in the same view. The related Hyades project also launched Hyades 3.0, a framework for adding testing, verification, and optimization of code created using Eclipse tools. You can download the Eclipse 3.0 tool for free at the Eclipse site.
IBM Inks Deal with Tandberg for iSeries Tape Drives
If you were wondering if you were going to be able to order SLR tape drives over the next few years from IBM for your iSeries and i5 servers, now you know you will be able to. IBM's long-time tape partner Tandberg Data announced last week that the two have inked an agreement for Tandberg to supply IBM with SLR tape drives for the OS/400 server line. Tandberg says that it will supply SLR tape drives to IBM for the OS/400 server line in early 2005, after they have gone through their qualification processes by the end of 2004. The agreement is expected to generate between $30 million and $35 million in revenue for Tandberg over a 24-month period, which means it will represent about an eighth of the company's annual sales. The contract is valid until December 31, 2006, with provisions for an annual renewal.
A few weeks ago, Tandberg announced that it would be sourcing LTO tape drives from IBM for use in its LTO-based arrays and libraries. The LTO offerings complement the SLR and DLT tape technologies that Tandberg already offers midrange customers.
IDC Says IBM Middleware Share Will Decline with OS/400, OS/390
The application deployment middleware market grew by 4.4 percent in 2003 to hit just over $7 billion in sales worldwide, according to a report by IDC. This is a steady market, says IDC, which expects sales of new licenses and add-on products to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4 percent through 2008.
While these numbers seem firm enough, IDC's terminology for this market is somewhat new and has been adjusted to reflect the diversity of the middleware market. When IDC says application deployment software, it means Web, application, and data integration server programs as well as message queuing, transaction processing, and access servers. When you add this all up, it is bigger than the much-discussed Web application server market, which has IBM and BEA Systems in a tight race. The race is nowhere near tight in the broader application deployment middleware market, according to IDC. IBM had a 35.6 percent share of sales in 2003, or about $2.5 billion, while BEA came in at a distant second with 11.5 percent, or $805 million in sales. Oracle, the number-three player, was an even more distant third, with $415 million in sales.
IDC analysts say that IBM has to be careful, since its hegemony in this broader middleware market is based almost entirely on sales of software into the mainframe and OS/400 server markets, which IDC predicts will be displaced slowly as the platforms of choice for such software as customers move to heterogeneous systems (meaning some Unix, but mostly Linux and Windows) to support this software in the future. BEA is the market leader in the Unix and Linux space for application deployment middleware, and Oracle is growing fast in these areas, too. IBM is in for a tough fight, it seems. And IDC is perhaps discounting the tenacity of OS/400 shops, which might put such software inside Linux partitions on their iSeries and i5 boxes because a Linux processor on an i5 costs just under $7,000, compared with $45,000 to activate an OS/400 processor. Is that an i5 sale? Yes, it is. Is it an OS/400 sale? No, it is not. What is important to IBM and the reseller channel is that i5 sale.
Guild Companies Adds Google Search Service
In an effort to make the search capability of our Web site better, we have added a Google search engine feature to our Search page. For those of you who like the open source HT/DIG search engine we have been using until now, we have left it active. The "search" button (which is at the top of all e-mail newsletters and on all pages on the Guild Companies site) now also points to a Google search box, which can troll our site for tech tips, articles, and other material. We have implemented the Google search box so you can search the rest of the Web, if you have an inclination to do that while on our search page. All you have to do is click the radio button from "itjungle.com" to "Web" and you can search the Web from within our site. We hope you find these two search engines useful.