October 13, 2003 7:04 AM PDT

WebMethods buys a new direction

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Flexible software architectures on rise

February 20, 2003
Integration-software maker WebMethods announced Monday three acquisitions and pledged to recast itself around industry standards.

The Fairfax, Va.-based company said it is purchasing Web services start-up The Mind Electric, analytical software maker Dante Group, and corporate portal software owned by Netegrity. Terms of the deals were not disclosed. WebMethods will gain about 40 employees in the transactions.

WebMethods executives said the acquisitions will bolster the company's integration software and create a standards-based way to bridge noncompatible systems. The expanded product line will also drive additional revenue for the company, executives said.

"By combining Web services, integration, portal and analytics, we can help customers run, measure and optimize their businesses," WebMethods CEO Phillip Merrick said. "A lot of customers will want to lay down a standards-based infrastructure."


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WebMethods sells specialized integration software for transferring data between disparate applications. Although WebMethods is a well-established player in the integration software market, the acquisitions are meant to redirect the company towards standards-based integration.

WebMethods and other integration specialists, such as Tibco and SeeBeyond, have relied on proprietary adapters to link corporate applications. Analysts say these traditional integration companies are suffering from falling revenue in part because of lower-cost integration products built around Web services. Applications written around Web services standards simplify data exchange between applications that run on different operating systems and programming models.

In tandem with the acquisitions, WebMethods introduced WebMethods Fabric, an enhanced product infrastructure based on a services-oriented architecture, which is a computing systems design that gives companies more flexibility in sharing information.

Using WebMethods Fabric, companies can pass data between applications written according to the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and Microsoft .Net development guidelines. Companies can also link applications written with other development languages that run on a variety of systems, such as mainframes.

Start-up Mind Electric, which is based in the Dallas area, provides development tools and server software to build and implement Web services applications around a services-oriented architecture. The company's product will be renamed WebMethods Glue.

WebMethods is also gain the portal software, which was formally called DataChannel. Security company Netegrity purchased the company known as DataChannel two years ago and has now sold that company's software and some employees to WebMethods. The software will now be called WebMethods Portal.

Boulder, Colo.-based Dante Group sells so-called business-activity monitoring software, or applications that track the operations of corporate computing systems and present the data to business analysts. The Dante Group's product will be renamed WebMethods Optimize.

Software gained through the three acquisitions will be incorporated into WebMethods Fabric, the company said.

 

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