IBM Acquires More Share in Component Architectures

IBM Corp. says it will purchase CrossWorlds Software, Inc. for $129 million. CrossWorlds creates business logic components for vertical applications.

IBM is hardly scooping up a company out of the blue - Crossworlds and IBM have collaborated to integrate its technology with IBM middleware for the past four years. “It became clear that an acquisition of CrossWorlds… was a critical next step,” said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive for IBM software, in announcing the purchase.

CrossWorlds creates business logic components from standard languages such as XML and J2EE for integrating applications. Much of the collaboration between the two companies has focused on using IBM’s middleware products like WebSphere and MQSeries.

Some of the logic components are targeted at the specific needs of vertical markets, needs that were previously too specific for IBM to integrate into WebSphere or other middleware. For example, CrossWorlds offers connectors for supply-chain management products for the manufacturing industry and connectors for applications specific to the financial services industry.

CrossWorlds also makes connectors to meet technological needs such as host integration, allowing data stored in legacy systems to share data with application servers and messaging servers.

Fred Amoroso, president and CEO of CrossWorlds, believes the merger will make life easier for its customers. “The Customer won’t have to knit together the piece parts, but will have a complete solution,” he says. IBM aims to make itself into a one-stop-shop for enterprise integration products.

Mills compared the CrossWorlds acquisition to another, recent IBM acquisition - the April purchase of Informix. He and Amoroso hinted IBM would begin to integrate interfaces for component architecture - such as XML and J2EE - into platform applications such as DB2, in a similar way to the way Data Mining and OLAP functionality has gradually worked its way into database servers.

Addressing the competitive threat from Microsoft Corp.’s .NET initative, which offers component architectures with XML, C# and Java-alike, Amoroso said Microsoft has a lot of catching up to do before it can compete with IBM. “The first thing is, the product is here, and it works,” he said, referring to Redmond’s lack of shipping product. In addition, he said, unlike Microsoft middleware, “We’re able to link many different products."

About the Author

Chris McConnell is Product and Technology Editor for Enterprise Systems.