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I've never even looked at it, but here's an extract from a Gartner
analysis on TechRepublic.com (FWIW):

Commentary: BEA still a leader, but looking over its shoulder
Apr 2, 2001
By Yefim Natis, Gartner Analyst

BEA Systems is gradually losing momentum to its application server rivals, but it has faced challenges before and will likely continue to be a leader through at least 2005.

An advantage BEA has is that it built a leadership position in a conservative market: systematic, long-term software infrastructure. Here, vendors can hold onto a healthy market share and bring in revenue for a long time even with legacy technology—for example, IBM's CICS.

In this environment, BEA started by leapfrogging its rivals through acquisition. It acquired Tuxedo, excellent middleware technology, which Novell had mishandled. BEA boosted it through its sales and marketing prowess. The vendor did the same with WebLogic. BEA has prevailed largely through superb execution and thorough understanding of the requirements and life cycle of its target market of large-scale systematic enterprise projects.

Recently, however, IBM has begun to gain—in fact, it leads in some regions outside the United States. Sun Microsystems has grown into a fiercer competitor by aligning itself more closely with iPlanet (its joint venture with AOL Time Warner). Smaller competitors in particular segments also have made progress—Iona Technologies, for instance.

BEA's challenge is to expand into new, overlapping areas, where it will face new competition... BEA has faced similar challenges before and prevailed, as with the transition from CORBA to Java and from online transaction processing to component architecture. It has also failed on occasion, as in application integration with its eLink initiative.

...to grow as Wall Street expects, it must do more than adding functions incrementally. It will have to take a more radical approach. It will thus likely tackle those challenges as it has done when achieving its greatest success in the past: through acquisition and followed by great execution. Since e-business platforms are the next key area for BEA to target, Gartner believes that it will repair its eLink mistake by making an integration technology acquisition by 2H01.

BEA will likely continue to be a leader during the next five years, but the competitive landscape will even out. IBM and Sun/iPlanet remain BEA's closest competitors. Microsoft will become a much stronger competitor in the enterprise market starting late in 2002. Hewlett-Packard/Bluestone Software and Oracle could also become significant competitors. BEA's future in the next two years will be significantly affected by the resolution of the relationship between Sun and iPlanet.

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