SeeBeyond Sucked Into Sun

Sun splashes $387M on software vendor SeeBeyond to boost its service-oriented architecture story

June 29, 2005

3 Min Read
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Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) has stumped up $387 million for software specialist SeeBeyond Technology Corp. (Nasdaq: SBYN) in an attempt to boost its service-oriented architecture (SOA) story (see Sun to Buy SeeBeyond).

For some time now, Sun has been putting its weight behind SOA technologies, which enable users to run services across different computing environments (see Sun Addresses SOA Governance and Web Services Hit Glass Ceiling ).

Other leading vendors, including Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), are also pushing SOA (see HP Expands SOA Services and IBM Rolls Out SOA Initiative). Watch for more on those announcements in a separate article today.

SeeBeyonds flagship offering is its ICAN suite, a range of software products for adapting business processes to support SOAs. The company claims 1,960 customers worldwide. The company has long been public, taking the name SeeBeyond in 2000 after more than a decade as Software Technologies Corp. (STC), an integration firm.

The writing has been on the wall for this deal -- Sun and SeeBeyond began working on joint SOA-based solutions last year. On a conference call this morning, Sun execs added that SeeBeyond’s technologies will be used to develop a sixth suite within Sun’s Java Enterprise System platform.A Sun spokeswoman confirmed to NDCF that all of Monrovia, Calif.-based SeeBeyond’s 800-odd workforce will be offered positions within Sun. The deal is expected to close in early fall.

Sun’s platform of Java technologies is now at the forefront of the company’s battle to regain market share lost when the dotcom bubble burst. Increasingly, it looks as if Sun is attempting to reposition itself as technology enabler of different services, as opposed to its traditional role as a hardware vendor (see Sun Opens Source on Java and Is Sun Setting?).

On today’s call, Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s COO, acknowledged that the company is focused on deploying the likes of security and identity technologies at the front-ends of users’ networks, while at the same time solving integration problems elsewhere in their operations. Although Sun is still offering a range of hardware built around “hot chips” from the likes of Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD), Schwartz told analysts this will not be the key weapon in the Sun armory as it moves forward: “That’s not going to be the lead warhead, if you will."

Schwartz added that, over the next few years, Sun will make more technology acquisitions focused on the front end of the network. The vendor is also planning to bolster its integration story through M&A, according to the exec, although he did not reveal any specific details.

The SeeBeyond deal is just the latest in a string of acquisitions by Sun, which also suggests the company is looking to extend its SOA story through to storage and networked devices. Recent acquisitions include the $4.1 billion deal for Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK) as well as the purchase of Tarantella and Procom Technology Inc.’s (Nasdaq: PRCME) intellectual property (see Sun to Acquire StorageTek for $4.1B, Sun Acquires Tarantella, and Sun Polishes Off Procom Deal ).Scott McNealy, Sun’s CEO, dismissed suggestions that the company’s coffers have been emptied by all this M&A activity. “We’re certainly still quite flush in cash now,” he said. “We certainly have strategic capacity to do more acquisitions moving forward.”

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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