BEA Pursues Blended Web App Platform with M7 Buy

 
 
By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2005-09-28
 
 
 
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Pursuing a "blended" applications development strategy that lets customers work with both open-source and commercial components, BEA Systems announced Wednesday that it has acquired M7 Corp., a privately owned maker of Eclipse-based development tools.

M7 Corp., based in Cupertino, Calif., markets an integrated development environment called NitroX that helps developers build Web applications based on a number of application frameworks and server platforms.

The two companies did not disclose the acquisition terms.

NitroX supports the JBoss, Resin, Tomcat, BEA WebLogic and IBM WebSphere applications servers as well as the Apache Foundation Struts, Java Server Faces, Java Server Pages and Hibernate Java Frameworks.

Click here to read about the WebLogic Real Time application server BEA introduced at its BEAWorld customer conference.

BEA chose to acquire M7 because "they had the best-fitting technology and they bring an enormous amount of Eclipse knowledge as well as some very interesting features like support for WebSphere, support for JBoss and support for Geronimo," said William Roth, BEA Systems Inc.s vice president of product marketing.

"Our acquisition of M7 underscores our continued desire to deliver ease of use improvements to the developer," Roth said, adding that it "shows we want to help coders get their jobs done faster the way they want to do it," he said.

BEA has already been making steady moves to support Eclipse. It joined the Eclipse Foundation in February and said it would ship future versions of its WebLogic Workshop for the Eclipse Tools Framework.

The NitroX product family includes NitroX Studio, NitroX Java Server Pages IDE, NitroX Struts IDE and the NitroX Java Server Faces IDE. BEA intends to merge its existing Java developer tools with M7 and market it under the name BEA Workshop for Java IDE, company officials said.

"M7 is another step in our continued dedication to making application development more efficient and fun so that developers can be more productive," said Mark Carges, BEAs chief technology officer.

It also reflects developers interest in tools that let them build applications on multiple platforms and in having the option to mix and match a set of development tools that best help them get their jobs done, he said.

The acquisition is also important for BEAs future growth because it demonstrates the companys plan to move to an Eclipse-focused tooling strategy that will support wide range of environments, Carges added.

The M7 acquisition is the second BEA has announced in little more than a month. In August, BEA announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire Plumtree Software Inc. for $200 million. Plumtree markets a cross-platform enterprise Web portal that runs on both J2EE and Microsoft .Net.

Click here to read more about BEAs agreement to acquire Web portal vendor Plumtree Software.

The acquisitions are part of a new company effort to help stimulate corporate growth while expanding the companys product line with products that support multiple technologies and development frameworks. The company revenue has held steady at around $1 billion per year for the past several years.

The M7 acquisition in and of itself will have little effect on BEA revenue growth, said Daniel Sholler, a research vice president with Gartner Research in Stamford, Conn. But it represents one of a "series of bets that BEA is making on where the future growth is going to come from," he said.

"The interesting thing is not that BEA bought M7. But the interesting thing is how BEA is going to build out that portfolio of development tools, to bring more developers and customers into its fold," Sholler said.

When combined with its SOA (service-oriented architecture) initiative and its newly shipping AquaLogic family of SOA products, BEAs recent moves represent market opportunities that the company is going to take advantage of to answer the question of "where the next billion dollars is going to come from," Sholler said.

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