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Tibco to push IntraExpress

Communications middleware vendor Tibco signs on to embed its TIBnet push technology in Diffusion's IntraExpress data distribution software.

In a melding of push technologies with corporate intranets, start-up Diffusion and Tibco, a communications middleware vendor, today announced that Tibco's TIBnet technology will be embedded in Diffusion's IntraExpress.

Diffusion also said IntraExpress, which it markets as the first push application designed specifically for business-to-business communications, is now shipping at a price starting at $35,000.

IntraExpress distributes data inside or outside corporate firewalls to selected employees, partners, and customers in their preferred formats and media--email, Web pages, network printers, fax, paging, or the U.S. postal Service. Users can distribute materials to specific individuals directly from their desktop.

The TIBnet family of software tools implements Tibco's "publish and subscribe" model so publishers or content creators can send material once and have it go to relevant subscribers, rather than send it separately to each. The former uses less network bandwidth.

Many companies are creating "push" technologies to deliver specific information to appropriate business users, rather than have them retrieve that content from a Web site or corporate database. Most other vendors, however, adopt a "broadcast" approach created for consumer-oriented content for use inside a corporation.

Diffusion's rivals include PointCast, which began shipping its intranet I-Server last fall for $1,000; BackWeb; DataChannel, a Seattle start-up targeting corporate intranets; and hot Java start-up Marimba. Microsoft, Netscape Communications, and Lotus are also incorporating push technologies into their product lines.

"Diffusion has as much opportunity as anybody, but I don't think they have a unique selling proposition that sets them apart from anyone else," said John Robb, an analyst at Forrester Research. "They have don't have a partner that's going to get their client software out to 1 million or 2 million desktops by the end of the year. Netscape bundles Marimba with Constellation [the next version of Netscape's Web browser]."

Tibco's technology is not included in the IntraExpress product shipping today.

"I believe they find a good match between business requirements of IntraExpress and our technology," Mark Bowles, Tibco's CTO, told CNET.

Tibco, owned by Reuters Holdings, has annual revenues of $130 million and has built its technology infrastructure business in the financial services area, where it has partnered with IBM and Financial Technology International.

Products for the broader market place to implement "publish and subscribe" are due to ship by mid-year. Tibco also has technology partnerships with Hewlett Packard's power management business and Quintus.