Esker Makes Some New Connections

New products and a merger announcement are driving Esker Inc. (San Francisco), provider of terminal emulation and database access middleware, deeper into the PC-to-AS/400 connectivity market space.

In June, Esker announced its latest connectivity software for use with the recently announced MetaFrame thin-client/server software from Citrix Systems (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.). MetaFrame – which runs with Microsoft’s Windows NT 4.0, Terminal Server Edition – extends Windows-based applications to terminals in multi-platform environments.

Esker’s new product, Tun Plus for Citrix, is a follow-up to its WinFrame version, according to Joy Weiss, president and CEO of Esker. Combining MetaFrame with Tun Plus for Citrix helps centralize network administration for multiplatform settings, adding host and database access, terminal emulation support for 21 environments, GUI conversion tools and a single ODBC driver for multiple databases.

In addition, Esker will apparently be doubling the size of its sales and distribution channels. Esker’s France-based parent company announced a merger agreement with Teubner & Associates Inc. (Stillwater, Okla.), creating a combined company worth $100 million, with annual revenues of approximately $25 million.

Along with Esker’s Tun Plus line, both companies have product lines that enable companies to integrate host applications with the Web. Esker’s EskerPlus offers browser-based host access for local and remote employees. Teubner’s Corridor puts host-based order entry, catalogs, customer service and other electronic commerce applications on the Web.

Esker was attracted to Teubner because of its IBM focus, according to Benoit Borrits, chairman of Esker. "Teubner has expertise is in the area of IBM enterprise systems and networking, and they understand how to sell and support customers in that environment," he says.

Teubner was attracted to Esker by its strong sales and distribution network, Russ Teubner, founder and CEO of Teubner & Associates, points out. "This merger also allows us to blend Esker’s enterprise access and management technologies with our enterprise gateway solutions for Web-to-host and fax/document distribution," he says, adding that the newly combined company will focus on delivering Web-enabling legacy applications.

The merger "is a good technological fit with no overlap," says Lynn Nye, president of NetResults (Portland, Ore.). "[Esker’s and Teubner’s] product lines have continuity. They will now be able to offer more products and functionality under one name than they could have before."

In addition, Teubner’s Faxgate – a fax automation solution – will be integrated with key Esker enterprise management technologies and distributed through Esker channels. "Although the primary reason for the Esker/Teubner alliance involves remote access, it offers tremendous synergies for the Teubner Faxgate business too," says Pete Davidson, fax industry analyst with IDC (Framingham, Mass.). "This deal gives Teubner the size and global scope to be taken seriously by even the largest enterprises, putting it on a level playing field with industry leaders like Omtool, RightFAX and TopCall."