Let's plumb the IT news and rumor mills for any logical extrapolations about what to expect next on the M&As front. Two hot areas to focus on: SOA and data integration.
First, Progress Software makes a strong move this week to assemble a goodly part of an SOA solution infrastructure offering with its pending purchase of Actional/Westbridge, nicely on the heels of its acquisition of Sonic.
The ZapThink guys have it right that this is only the second inning (given the weather, it can't be too soon for baseball metaphors) of a nine-inning outing of SOA components and supplier consolidation. You remember the Mercury-Systinet news from last week.
And let's not forget Sun and SeeBeyond, IBM and DataPower, BEA and SolarMetric, IBM and Gluecode, Symantec and Veritas, and EMC and Documentum, to name but a few.
Truth be told, the SOA consolidation merger trend is sort of mashed-up against the larger managed deployment stack consolidation merger trend, as well as the data access and extension consolidation merger trend.
The pick-a-bride software infrastructure progression is multi-denominational. The point is to get as close to a solution sell capability as possible, and not to be left standing at the altar when the music stops, as it must. SOA as a capability is secondary to the single stack progression forces at work.
There's also the professional services swap meet, ala the rumor of HP and CSC, but we won't go there for this blog. It's already too complicated.
So who are the wannabes of a solution-level upgrade marriage (maybe even with a shotgun pointed at them)?
Consider (in no meaningful order) SOA Software, Infravio, Cape Clear, Cordys, Above All Software, Amberpoint, WebMethods, TIBCO, Iona, iWay, Oblix, BEA, Layer 7, Parasoft, JBoss, LogicLibrary, Reactivity, ThoughtWorks, GT Software, BMC, Mindreef, Borland, Acutate, Fiorano, Azul Systems, InterSystems, DataFlux, InfoSys, Rogue Wave, Composite Software, Data Mirror, and ActiveGrid.
These are all folks, in a sense, loitering in the parking lot of our figurative Vegas Love Chapel, hoping for the right suitor to whisper sweet golden nuggets into their ears. Hell, a weekend fling in the form of a channel partnership might be nice, too.
And who are the potential suitors (carnations already in the refrigerator)? CA, HP, Oracle, BEA (in both buyer and seller camps), IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Salesforce.com, Apple (uh-huh), Intel, Cisco, at&t, Comcast, Sun Microsystems (could also be in both camps), Red Hat, Sybase (could also be in both camps), Compuware (could also be in both camps), Google, EMC, Symantec (could be in either camp, too), Adobe, Mercury (could be in both camps), Time Warner, and perhaps some of the large European telecom/wireless firms. Plenty of love to go around.
Incidentally, tell me, does Novell fit anywhere in here? At all? Would you buy it? Would you sell it? No, to all?
In any event, expect a rising crescendo of acquisitions noise because this M&A phase can not last too long, and there is a existential imperative for many of the players. Sort of like now or never.
Let's hear from the peanut gallery. For you enterprise software buyers, which sorts of match-ups from and among the above players would make your life easier? As a buyer, how would you prefer to fill out the PO?
Full disclosure, Cape Clear is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect B2B informational podcasts.