IBM to buy open source startup

Continuing to bet heavily on open source software, IBM announced this week it is buying Gluecode Software, a small startup that figures to give Big Blue a presence in the lower end of the market for server software.

Gluecode sells an open source server called Geronimo. While IBM already has its own server in WebSphere, the company does not see Geronimo as a direct competitor but rather as a low-end complement designed to gain IBM traction among small and medium-size companies (SMBs).

Geronimo is based on open source technology from the Apache Geronimo application server. Gluecode's software products and subscription support services are designed to offer a lower cost infrastructure to companies needing an alternative to the more traditional commercial software, according to IBM officials.

Through the deal IBM plans to become a more active contributor to the Apache Geronimo open source project, according to a prepared statement released early on Tuesday, and plans to expand the existing community of developers to further advance the project. The company plans to contribute Geronimo-developed software to Apache Geronimo as well.

"IBM sees growing demand for a broad range of application integration middleware in the marketplace, including open standards-based and open source Java application server technology particularly among SMBs and departmental users," said Robert LeBlanc, general manager of application and integration middleware for IBM's Software Group. "With the Gluecode acquisition, we think we can enable users and business partners to tap into the low cost of entry of open source technology to more quickly develop and deploy applications, and migrate to WebSphere as business needs expands," he said.

With the deal IBM enables third party and corporate developers, both large and small, to download the Gluecode application server and start working for no upfront cost. They can then purchase whatever software support services they need directly from IBM, company officials said.

IBM plans to integrate Gluecode's operations into IBM's Software Group.

"I think the acquisition of Gluecode by IBM recognizes the value of software solutions that are built in collaboration with the open [source] community. We are pleased to enable a new business model for IBM that allows them to address a broader spectrum of business needs," said Chet Kapoor, Gluecode's CEO, in a prepared statement.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

More details on the announcement are expected to be announced in a press conference later this week.

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