BEA eyes new markets for e-business platform

Facing competition from a growing number of Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE)-based application server vendors, BEA Systems will use its BEA e-World 2001 event this week to delve into application markets that extend its own platform.

Among the initiatives at the company's show in Dallas will be a new partner program. The company will also showcase an array of products that may soon see BEA competing with current partners.

"We are creating a broader ebusiness platform," said Mauricio Alvarez, senior director of technology at BEA. "Our objective is to leverage the WebLogic community to extend our reach into different areas of the enterprise."

Such areas include e-business infrastructure software and customercentric tools such as marketing analytics, BEA officials said.

With most of the major application server vendors moving to J2EE, BEA hopes that a broader product palette will differentiate the company, according to Tracy Corbo, senior analyst at Hurwitz Group. "The application server is the engine, but BEA also needs to pull in users from other areas."

To that end, BEA will unveil at the show WebLogic Enterprise 6.0, Campaign Manager for WebLogic, Tuxedo 8.0, and WebLogic Collaborate Enabler for RosettaNet Inc.

In releasing some of these products, such as Collaborate Enabler, BEA is moving into a competitive space inhabited by business-to-business software integration vendors webMethods Inc. and Extricity Inc.

BEA will also likely begin competing with some of its partners, including BroadVision Inc., Vignette Corp., and Blue Martini Software Inc., said Shawn Willett, a principal analyst at Current Analysis Inc.

Yet last week BEA and Vignette inked a deal to continue the integration of Vignette's applications with BEA's WebLogic platform, including application and commerce servers.

"BEA is growing bigger and stronger, and they're moving into new markets. They're moving more and more to the application space," Willett added.

BEA will also forge new partnerships to make its platform more attractive.

For example, the company will announce a new partner initiative, the BEA Star Partner Program, which promises to more tightly integrate applications into the platform, according to a representative of WebGain Inc., a charter member of the program. Other charter members include Broadbase Corp., Interwoven Inc., and Documentum Inc., according to BEA.

Membership in the BEA Star Partner Program requires a company to fully integrate its products with BEA WebLogic Server 6.0 and offer BEA-ready software, according to the WebGain representative.

BEA is not alone in partnering with tools vendors to enhance its platform. Iona Technologies Inc., for example, is expected to announce a deal with Sun Microsystems Inc. on Monday to incorporate Sun's Forte for Java 2.0 IDE (integrated development environment) technology into Iona's iPortal Application Server.

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