It's the ultimate sign of an energetic market: mud and FUD flying all over the place.
ZDNet's David Berlind has documented Annrai O'Toole's recent razzing of BEA over BEA's recent acquisition of BPM solution provider Fuego. O'Toole, CEO of Cape Clear, harkens back to August with BEA's acquisition of Plumtree Software, which also left him scratching his head. ("BEA's Strategery" -- good one!)
"When BEA bought Plumtree several months ago, a lot of people in the industry said ‘Huh?… and how does this help their strategy?" O'Toole wrote. "Don’t they already have a portal?” Well, it looks like BEA is at it again with another acquisition of a proprietary, pure-play vendor. This time it’s BPM also-ran, Fuego."
David got BEA's reaction to the post, in which director of investor relations Eric Stahl notes that "Fuego is anything but an 'also-ran' company; Fuego is widely considered the #1 BPM product in the market," and that "the acquisition also expands BEA’s presence in the integration market by adding a market-leading business process management portfolio to BEA’s existing market-leading integration product portfolio. The assertion that these are proprietary technologies is not correct. Fuego supports BPEL, Web services and other relevant standards to ensure portability and interoperability of applications."
Plus, Stahl retorted, there's synergy with Plumtree, which, by the way, also had a product based on Fuego -- so there, Annrai.
Vendor spats and one-ups are as common as bubbles in bathwater; it's just the nature of the game. But they're far more visible now in the era of blogging.
Back to BEA and Fuego... Over the years, there have been plenty of acquisitions that have left people scratching their heads. Mergers and acquisitions could be a lot of fun, except for the fact that people tend to lose their jobs. Often, the acquired or merged company and its technology simply disappear; other times it resurfaces as something new; other times it's just an utter disaster. I can't predict the outcome of BEA's Fuego acquisition, but it's worth noting that the business process management market is hot right now, and this is the direction SOA is taking as of late, as shown by growing interest in Business Process Execution Language (BPEL). In addition, SOA has matured to the point where many implementers are thinking along the lines of bringing together or enabling business processes through standardized components.
Update: Here is a link to a new article explaining the connection between BPM, SOA, and Web services.