Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Progress Software buying Iona

This is ultimately courtesy of Steve Vinoski, but Progress Software is acquiring Iona Technologies.

As a Progress customer (I'm a very active user of SonicMQ, and cannot recommend it more as a pure-play JMS solution), I'm of mixed feelings about this, because I cannot help but think that Progress is turning into the Computer Associates of our generation.

My ultimate instincts about Computer Associates is that it's where old technology goes to die. Aside from a few products where they really have made some technological improvements, their basic business model appears to be to find a technology with significant lock-in with existing organizations (such that it's obvious that they're never going to move off it), buy the company providing that technology, jack up support and maintenance costs, and then provide just enough enhancement to stop the customers from actively moving off that technology.

I'm a little worried that Progress is turning into the same thing with its growth-through-acquisition approach, with the aside that they keep wanting me to buy their big-letters Service Oriented Architecture product, which I most certainly do not want to do. They've bought Sonic, Apama, ObjectStore, now Iona. Are they really going to be putting massive engineering efforts into the existing products? Doubtful. I work with SonicMQ and some of my complaints with the product (#1: their installers are worse than useless, they're actually hostile; #2: any client other than Java is considered to be at best a third-class citizen) are ones that only putting engineering resources into the product will be capable of managing.

I hope for Iona customers that things turn out well, because having a bigger-funded parent company will provide them with guaranteed longevity, but given the history of the computer industry for these growth-by-acquisition companies, I wouldn't hold my breath for the technologies.

And get ready to be actively sold a Service Oriented Architecture (capitals not in jest).
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