JBoss Boss Mum as Buyout Talk Grows Louder - Page 2

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Michael Goulde, an analyst with Forrester Research, in Cambridge, Mass., said that as IBM acquired Gluecode for what amounted to around 10 times its worth, he would not be surprised to see a deal for JBoss going for around $400 million, since JBoss is valued at about $40 million.

However, some observers said they believe that should Oracle acquire JBoss, most of the JEMS (JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite) would go away, because Oracle has comparable or superior offerings in most categories.

The JEMS suite consists of the JBoss Application Server, Apache Tomcat, Hibernate, JBoss Portal, JBoss jBPM (business process management), JBoss Rules, JBoss Cache, JBoss Transactions and JBoss Eclipse IDE.

And with pieces of the JEMS suite gone, key developers of those technologies are likely to go along with them, the source speculated.

"If the components go, therell be a massive bailout" of the top talent that built those components, one observer said.

Besides, said another, "I think it would be hard for Oracle to put together a comparable package to compete with IBM."

Meanwhile, Forresters Goulde said a non-independent JBoss indicates "that you can build an open-source business and sell it. And for the short term theres this market for these businesses. If you cant sell the software, dont. Sell the business," he said.

"This will stimulate the creation of even more open source-based companies to build up a brand and then shop the company," Goulde said.

"There are other open-source companies out there that are ripe for picking and that have innovative solutions and have high barrier to entry, like Black Duck and Palamida. The application portfolio management companies could use the types of solutions they provide. Open source becomes a source of technology for proprietary software companies."

Meanwhile, another observer said Oracles move to acquire Sleepycat is an attempt "to cut MySQL off at the knees."

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead more here about the relationship between Oracle, Sleepycat and MySQL.

Approached for a short interview after his own talk at the event, David Skok, a principal investor in JBoss and a general partner at the venture capital firm Matrix Partners, in Waltham, Mass., said he could not comment on any rumors about a JBoss deal. Speaking hypothetically, however, Skok said that if JBoss were to merge with a larger company, it would likely be for reasons other than sheer economics.

"The interesting thing here is that JBoss is doing extremely well," Skok said. "JBoss doesnt need to merge with a bigger company; they could stay independent. However, there are a bunch of very large, conservative buyers out there who wont buy from a small company."

Indeed, Fleurys talk emphasized his companys advantages against larger competitors such as IBM Corp. He told the crowd of lawyers, entrepreneurs and techies that the clash of JBoss and IBM is like a jungle fight between a tiger and and a big, lumbering elephant.

In his speech, Fleury offered a personal look at the process of building an open-source business. After leaving his job at Sun Microsystems, "I go to see my wife who was pregnant with our first kid," Fleury said. "And I say, Baby, Im writing software for free. And she turns around and says, Youre stupid. So I was a little taken aback."

Then, "We moved to Atlanta to my in-laws," Fleury said. "So were not even a garage company: Im my-in-laws garage company. And so I told my wife that if I could do one year and make 60K I could make a living. I did training and 20 people came to the first one, and I made 60K. I am king of the world! I couldnt believe it," he said, smiling.

However, "My father-in-law had the big-boy talk with me that amounted essentially to, Why dont you get out of my place, you bum?" Fleury said. "And I didnt get it at the time. He was like, A young man your age needs his own place.

"My mother-in-law was a great cook, I put on 10 pounds, my wife was happy after a difficult time in Silicon Valley. It was a happy time for me."

Fleury added, "Then David Skok [venture capitalist at Matrix Partners] came along and things got difficult for me."

Things are about to get a lot less difficult if a deal to acquire JBoss goes through.

When asked what his exit strategy was, Fleury at first joked, miming picking up a phone and saying to the audience, "Hold on, thats Larry [Ellison, CEO of Oracle] now."

Then he added, "There was never an exit strategy; there was a naked ambition…"

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