However, he is surprised at the suitor, Software AG. "Software AG is a company with a long history as a middleware company, but it's not a glorious one," he says. Software AG's current portfolio, which includes its Centrasite (SOA registry/repository) and Crossvision (BPM, ESB, legacy integration, composite application development) lines, overlaps a lot of WebMethods' offerings.
"Given the huge portfolio overlap, from a product and technology - and ultimately a customer - standpoint, this will be a difficult integration to pull off," Neil said.
What's the deal with this $546 million acquisition, then? Neil feels its more about geography than technology -- WebMethods has a strong North American presence and brand recognition, which Software AG, based in Germany, lacks.
Who knows the underlying reasons why acquisitions happen? Many companies get acquired simply for their customer lists, or to take them out of the game as a competitor. Geographic positioning makes perfect sense as well. But Software AG has also strengthened its claim into the great, open legacy-to-SOA frontier.