The two-horse application server race: IBM and Red Hat/JBoss

BEA is toast. Sorry.

I didn't know all the history behind JBoss until I read Shaun Connolly's blog on the topic. It turns out that JBoss has been stalking BEA for some time. Unfortunately for BEA, IBM and JBoss now appear to be poised to eclipse its once-thriving business altogether.

JBoss never should have happened, as Bob Pasker once wrote. BEA ceded the field of battle to JBoss by fixating on IBM:

While BEA was looking "up" at its biggest competitor IBM, JBoss was busily undercutting BEA at the bottom end....JBoss launched an innovator's dilemma attack against BEA, not with a revolutionary product, but with a revolutionary business model, one that BEA couldn't hope to copy without cannibalizing its existing revenue stream. BEA fell right into the trap.

The rest is history. Oracle is exceptional at integrating companies. But I think IBM (WebSphere + Geronimo) and JBoss (and Tomcat) now have too much momentum. Oracle acquired the rights to yesterday's application server. Tomorrow belongs to open source and those founded upon it.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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