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CA builds on Platinum for e-commerce tools

Computer Associates executives say they will combine Platinum Technology products with their own to create new management tools for e-commerce.

Computer Associates executives today said they will combine Platinum Technology products with their own to create new management tools for e-commerce.

Analysts, however, were unimpressed, saying today's products announcements have been expected ever since CA's $3.5 billion purchase of Platinum three months ago.

"It's the same products they had before. They're just giving it an 'e' spin," said analyst Jasmine Noel, of D.H. Brown Associates. "The spin is that e-commerce is all about opening up your internal infrastructure or databases to your business partners, so you need to get a good handle on management and security."

At a press conference in New York today, CEO Charles Wang and other CA executives said they would integrate Platinum's data warehousing, application development, database tools, security, scheduling, and technologies with CA's Jasmine object database software and systems management product, called Unicenter.

Uniting data warehousing with CA's "neugent" technology will allow e-commerce Web sites to create profiles for customers and allows the businesses to target content to their specific interests, said Yogesh Gupta, CA's senior vice president.

Neugent technology is compared to artificial intelligence software. Distributed throughout a network, the Neugent software "agents" can analyze information and suggest business strategies to companies. Data warehousing is a collection of historical data that businesses can analyze.

"There's a lot of companies out there with tremendous amounts of data. They don't have real knowledge," Gupta said. "The application of tomorrow will take the data and make it into knowledge and provide people with a one-on-one user experience."

Adding CA's 3D graphics to Platinum's data warehousing products will allow users to visualize data over the Internet, he added.

CA expects the integrated products to be available by the third quarter this year. With security products, Platinum offers some intrusion detection and firewall technologies that CA didn't have--so they will be integrated, Gupta said. Platinum's scheduling software--which only supported Unix and NT--will now support AS/400 and mainframes, he said. CA will continue to support Platinum's technology as standalone products for two more years, he said.

Since the Platinum acquisition, CA executives said the company has laid off some Platinum employees, but they declined to be specific. Of Platinum's 6,000 employees, about 10 percent of its research and development staff, 90 percent of those in administration, and about 20 percent in sales and sales support were laid off, Gupta said.

Despite the layoffs, CA said the total number of employees will grow from 14,000 to a little above 20,000 after all the reorganization is done stemming from the Platinum purchase.

The company still needs to restructure its Europe offices, but its North America, Latin America and Asian businesses have been restructured, he said. Platinum's former president and CEO Andrew Flipowski also said he was leaving the company tomorrow, but did not say what his future plans are.

Analysts said they were not overwhelmed by CA's announcement today.

"It looks like they're trying to make a press wave," said analyst Stephen Elliot, of Dataquest. "It doesn't say much. They're trying to pull the pieces that are obviously important and have some integration points. It's something that most people expected from the moment the acquisition was announced."