Competitors Edge Into IBM Territory

Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft both announced Web services applications Monday designed for one purpose — eating away at IBM’s share in the infrastructure software industry.

HP and BEA Systems, Inc., are rolling out BEA’s WebLogic Server 7.0 on the HP-UX 11i, while Microsoft is pushing its application analyzer for Lotus Notes, hoping to migrate IBM users to a .Net platform.

Microsoft’s Paul Flessner, .Net enterprise server senior vice president, fired the opening salvo, saying his company is situated to offer a better product and that the analyzer is tailor-made to migrate Lotus Notes customers away from IBM and onto the .Net platform.

“While customers have received value from Notes over the years, they are increasingly finding that using a monolithic product to address a wide range of business needs does not provide the performance, scalability and manageability an enterprise requires,” he said.

Tod Nielsen, chief marketing officer for BEA Systems, chimed in with his company’s application, saying IBM customers, among others, would benefit from the HP-BEA name brand offering.

“The HP and BEA alliance is proving to be a formidable force in the marketplace,” he said. “The bundling initiative is just the beginning of a strategic effort to combine application development and hardware optimization efforts in order to offer enterprise customers exceptional solutions backed by the reliability of two of the industry’s most respected leaders.”

Microsoft and HP are trying to build up an enterprise following for a real-time back-office software product in a market dominated by IBM and its WebSphere platform. IBM has offered Web services long before the Web services moniker was coined, using its Tivoli product to interconnect corporate divisions.

Both are giving out their services in order to get a toehold in the IBM market: HP is providing BEA’s WebLogic Server 7.0 free-of-charge for six months on the HP-UX 11i, while Microsoft customers can download its data collector for free and pay $1 for the data processor, in order to help convince Lotus customers to migrate away from IBM.

For the time being, it seems IBM has taken the lead in Web services and security using its Tivoli product. Last week, the company announced it would incorporate WS-Security standards on its platform for customers using any number of security practices by the end of the year, something the competition has yet to announce.