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BEA Picks $200M Plum

BEA Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS) has plunked down $200 million to acquire publicly traded portal vendor Plumtree Software Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUM).

The software giants shares were up 10 cents (1.12 percent) to $8.99 this morning, as BEA CEO Alfred Chuang made good on his recent promise to bolster the company’s Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) business (see BEA Looks to VOIP, SOA).

The major software vendors are currently jostling for position around SOAs, which let users run services in the form of application software across different computing environments. Analyst firm Gartner Inc. predicts that by 2008, most application revenue will come from products conforming to an SOA (see System Vendors Sight SOA).

Plumtree fits neatly into the whole SOA concept, offering portals that connect different parts of enterprise IT systems. Trouble is, unlike BEA’s existing WebLogic Portal Server product, Plumtree's portals are aimed at non-technical business users. “The type of people that build a portal on the Plumtree line may not even call themselves developers,” explained BEA’s CTO Mark Carges during a conference call last night.

In a nutshell, BEA’s exising portal software is focused on heavy-duty transaction-based work, whereas Plumtree is more geared towards connecting different groups of employees across a business.

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