Predictions: Will Oracle Acquire BEA?

There’s been a lot of speculation in response to some press releases from Oracle that an all-cash buyout of BEA may be immanent. More than two years ago, I made an entry on my company’s blog that said, effectively, that by acquiring Plumtree, BEA painted a target on itself to be acquired by Oracle. Here’s the snippet from my other blog dated August 28, 2005:

Will this deal make BEA even more of an acquisition target for Oracle?

Everyone I know — myself included — had a feeling that Plumtree would be acquired some day. But the major questions were 1) when and 2) by whom? Quite some time ago and long before Plumtree had its Java strategy fleshed out, there were rumors of a Microsoft takeover. Then Siebel. Then Peoplesoft. But BEA? I never would have guessed.

I personally thought Oracle would be the suitor, especially after they acquired Oblix, PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards. After extending its tentacles into almost every enterprise software market (and proving tremendously incapable of producing any decent software applications other than a database), Oracle snapped up ERP, HR and SSO/Identity Management in the blink of an eye. It seemed reasonable to me that a good portal product that could integrate with all those applications would be a clear next target. Oracle’s portal certainly doesn’t cut the mustard. In fact, they often offer it up for free only to be beaten out by Plumtree, which is, ahem, a far cry from free.

Now the next pressing question: is Oracle even more likely to acquire Plumtree now that they’re a part of BEA? Now they’d get an excellent application server and a cross-platform, industry-leading portal. You know it crossed Larry Ellison’s mind when he heard the news. Food for thought.

I also said that BEA would keep the name Plumtree and lo-and-behold, they changed it to AquaLogic. So I wasn’t 100% right, but at least I can say that I called this one.

Comments

Comments are listed in date ascending order (oldest first)

  • Someone just walked into my office and said, “Hey, since BEA already has a dual portal strategy (ALI and WLP), what will happen if they get acquired by Oracle, which already has their own portal product?”

    Two years ago, I predicted a merging of WLP and ALI, with the result being much like ALI with the great developer tools you get from WLP and workshop tacked on to it. Obviously that’s not exactly how things played out.

    So my prediction this time is that all three portals will “seamlessly” co-exist under one roof, giving consumers plenty of ways to portalize all under the Oracle name. We’ll call it the Portal Trifecta — w00t!

    Posted by: bucchere on October 12, 2007 at 10:40 AM

  • Oracle is going to support SqlServer 2000 & 2005 for Aqualogic? And support .NET? Interesting if they would sell the Aqualogic piece of to to Microsoft. Give MOS a better external portal….?

    Posted by: vivekvp on October 12, 2007 at 11:37 AM

  • Great question, Vivek. I was surprised to see BEA pledge support for ALUI on .NET and SQL Server. I’ll be even more surprised to see that happen over at Oracle. Remember though, Oracle runs on Windows!

    Posted by: bucchere on October 12, 2007 at 12:08 PM

  • Chris, don’t you mean 4 portal products; ALUI, WLP, Oracle Portal, and WebCenter? The merger makes a lot of sense from my view point, but in all seriousness the one area which will need a lot of help is Portal. IBM has only one WebSphere Portal code base.

    Posted by: Dr. BEA Good on October 16, 2007 at 9:33 PM

  • It’s hard to image that a company maintains three or four full-featured portal products, even a giant like IBM, Oracle or MS.

    Posted by: caiwenliang on October 17, 2007 at 5:16 AM

  • Four portals? Yikes! I just don’t want confused consumers to go off and buy Sharepoint or WebSphere portal when I think ALUI and WLP are superior products.

    Posted by: bucchere on October 18, 2007 at 2:11 PM

Feedhaus Launches Public Alpha to Deliver Real-time Personalized News, Images and Video

Feedhaus announced today that it has released its social news site into public alpha to deliver real-time news, images and videos that are personally relevant.

Leveraging the power of news feeds and the flexibility of user-generated tags, Feedhaus offers a unique, real-time view of today’s hottest digital media including personalized online news items, images and videos. It gives people the ability to tag and follow their favorite RSS or ATOM feeds from news sites or blogs in real-time so that they can be the first to know about breaking news.

Feedhaus is a powerful new real-time social media website that aggregates content from thousands of user-submitted feeds and tags, offering a never-before-seen mashup of social feed aggregation, user-generated tagging, social networking and rich personalization. Following an extensive private alpha, Feedhaus is now available to the general public, providing for the first time a place to filter out and discover “what’s hot now” across thousands of content sources and topics of general or personal interest.

“Until now, I couldn’t find a good way to keep up with the wealth of news, blogs and other content sources on the internet,” said Chris Bucchere, founder, President and CEO at Feedhaus. “Feedhaus gives you the power to tag feed-based content and design your own ‘My Feedhaus’ pages that deliver specific, personalized news, images and videos to you exactly the way you want them, in real-time.”

Invented and developed by a team of enterprise software veterans with deep internet and intranet portal experience, Feedhaus is led by CEO, President and founder Chris Bucchere, formerly Lead Engineer at Plumtree Software, the market-leading enterprise portal software company that was acquired by BEA Systems (NASDAQ: BEAS) in 2005.

Privately held and personally funded, Feedhaus was built by a small team of developers in a matter of months using open source Java technologies such as Rome, Lucene and Apache Tomcat along with advanced Javascript libraries to enable real-time publishing of news, images and video via an Ajax-like technology called Comet.

“Ajax has its place in the industry and we use it throughout the site,” says Feedhaus developer Andrew Bays. “However, Comet allows developers to provide real-time updates to tags and detail pages without any user intervention, providing a whole new twist to our Rich Internet Application (RIA).”

This real-time updating technology, which Feedhaus has dubbed “ActiveCloud (TM),” shows tags pulsating and growing in size when they’re active and shaking and shrinking when activity slows down, giving readers perspective on what topics are currently newsworthy along with a “top story” news ticker to show current breaking news updates. Feedhaus also captures a daily news snapshot, allowing readers to drag a slider bar backwards in time and find out what made the news yesterday, last week, last month or beyond.

Feedhaus also provides a rich set of tools to allow you to click and drag tags to create your own personalized feed-driven news site. Known as “My Feedhaus,” this part of the site gives readers the ability to target and follow only the topics in which they are interested.

Feedhaus already offers integration with the popular social networking site Facebook, allowing Feedhaus readers who are also Facebook users to share tag clouds on their Facebook profiles. More social networking features, including the ability to track view and track other people’s public ActiveCloud (TM) tag clouds, are being planned for an upcoming release.

About Feedhaus

Feedhaus is a privately-held company dedicated to providing real-time, personalized content from a wide variety of feeds, tagged and filtered down to only “what’s hot now” for a set of personalized topics. Feedhaus users engage in an intuitive experience of submitting and tagging feeds and narrowing their interests to only those topics that reflect their passions. Be the first to know at http://www.feedhaus.com or send an email to [email protected] for more information.

Feedhaus is a trademark of bdg, llc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are property of their respective holders.

meebo Sells Out

It has been a long time coming, but meebo has finally succumbed to the pressures of a basic business truth that they’ve been dutifully ignoring:

in order to stay in business, you actually have to make money.

Since their initial $3.5M financing round in December, 2005, they’ve been very good at two things: spending money and generating buzz around their service offering: free, browser-based multi-band instant messaging that supports AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, GTalk, Jabber and ICQ. New features, including “meebo rooms” and iPhone integration, have also generated a fair amount of hype. But back to dollars and cents . . . .

Their primary investor is Sequoia Capital, which has a great track record that includes companies like Cisco, Yahoo!, Paypal and Plumtree. From their point of view, investing in meebo in order to flip it to a larger company doesn’t seem viable because if any of the big players (Google, AOL, Yahoo! or Microsoft) bought meebo, they would most certainly shut down the other channels, which is one of meebo’s most compelling features. So, how does Sequoia intend to monetize meebo?

The team has been fairly tight-lipped about their plans, although co-founder Seth Sternberg has dropped a few hints on their blog including selling ad space, partnering with other providers to provide fee-based SMS or other services, and (my personal favorite) selling virtual goods to “spice up” your IM avatar.

San Jose Mercury News quotes Seth as saying:

“There are tons of ways we can make money, but we have to choose our priorities carefully.”

When you take the venture capital route, however, choosing the company’s priorities involves more than just the management team. Whether it was investor pressure or just common sense, we’ll never know, but yesterday meebo finally started devoting some of their copious dead space to advertising. They’re calling the new feature “meebo sponsors” which is a euphemism for, ehem, “meebo advertisements.”

meebo_adI have to give the team some credit because the introduction of ads on meebo was tastefully done — the ad is small, out-of-the-way and you can disable it with a single mouse click. However, if you click on the “try the Talib background” link, the results are quite shocking. Moreover, there’s no easy way to stop “trying” the Talib background. You have to navigate into your preferences and reset the background to whatever you had before.

A little “Are you sure?” could have gone a long way here.

meebo also plans to use the “holy grail” of advertising — targeting — to make sure these sponsor messages hit home. From the meebo blog: “We’ve already got a bunch of ideas to make [the ads] better, including preferences for the types of things you’re interested in. We’re hoping to figure out how to be selective, so if you indicate that you like movies, but not rap music, future sponsors will reflect that for you.”

It’s just a matter of time before meebo will be combing through your IM conversations looking for keywords like “BMW” or “Rolex” and using those data points to drive targeted ad campaigns.

Succumbing to financial pressure to allow advertising on your site is a slippery slope.

I’m curious to see where this leads and if meebo can continue to provide ads — and their free service — without the ads becoming too obtrusive, which will cause their user community to resent them.

While I commend them for finally taking a step toward financial responsibility, I worry that it won’t be long before the ads on meebo become burdensome enough that the users no longer want to use the service, e.g. AOL pre-welcome screen pop-ups of the late 90s.

I’m definitely interested to see how this one plays out.