IBM buyout leaves Informix users in limbo

IBM's $1bn buyout of Informix spells the death for Informix products, claim analysts.
Written by Suzanna Kerridge, Contributor on

IBM's $1bn buyout of Informix spells the death for Informix products, claim analysts.

Charlie Gary, analyst at Meta Group, said: "Informix as a stand-alone product will die. IBM already has a more viable product and can now take a look at what the technology can do and cherry pick from Informix to jump start its own products." In a conference call, Janet Perna, general manager of data management software at IBM, made it clear that UDB2, IBM's primary database product, will be the strategic platform of choice offered to all new customers. She claimed IBM will continue to support existing Informix users but will encourage them to migrate to IBM's own technology over time. IBM has made no secret of the fact that the two companies have overlapping technologies, said Gary, which means that it has a wealth of talent that could be used to improve IBM's database products. The company will also benefit from Informix's installed base, which boasts names such as Deutsche Telekom and Sears. It makes little sense for IBM to continue to support two databases for a long period, said Peter Uban, analyst at AMR. "The question remains whether IBM intends to continue selling Informix products or will eventually try to lure Informix users over to IBM's own DB2 database." Ian Wesley, director of Ovum Evaluates, praised IBM for its honesty. "IBM did a very professional job and told it as it is. There was no fannying around saying the company would support Informix indefinitely," he said. "No one wants or needs two database technologies, you can't continue with both of them and IBM was just being brutally honest about what they have to do." However, Meta Group's Gary claimed it was a happy day for Informix users as they have had to endure months of uncertainty over the company's future. "It could have been a lot worse - CA could have bought them. IBM is a kinder, gentler partner than CA." Barbara Stanley, regional software manager for northern Europe at Informix Software agreed. "People have invested a lot of money in Informix products and need to realise that investment, as well as take advantage of new technology. We can now provide a unified path forward for the future. It will be the IBM product set but with enhanced features from Informix."
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