J.D. Edwards integrates software with IBM wares

Enterprise software maker J.D. Edwards & Co. will begin integrating IBM Corp.'s middleware software into its own products, significantly boosting its products' functionality through a deal J.D. Edwards' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Dutkowsky called "the most significant technology partnership in J.D. Edwards' 25-year history."

J.D. Edwards, based in Denver, develops software including ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management) applications aimed primarily at midsize businesses. Its products traditionally need to be coupled with software from other vendors, such as databases from IBM, Oracle Corp. or Microsoft Corp. Under the deal announced Thursday, J.D. Edwards will build into its own software IBM middleware, including IBM's DB2 database, WebSphere Application Server and WebSphere Portal.

The technical integration of the two companies' software will be completed by the end of this year and rolled out to customers over the next several quarters, executives said. The deal will push up the cost of J.D. Edwards' software, though company executives argued that customers will gain "dramatically more" software capability and save on integration costs.

Customers running IBM technology such as DB2 already comprise the vast majority of J.D. Edwards' installed base, and those customers will see cost savings over buying the software piecemeal, Dutkowsky said at a press conference in New York. But the integrated IBM-J.D. Edwards software won't preclude customers from opting instead to use third-party technology, such as a database from Oracle or Microsoft, and those customers could face higher costs as they essentially pay twice for the same functionality, he acknowledged.

IBM's professed commitment to open standards was a "key" factor in J.D. Edwards' decision to chose Big Blue for this partnership, Dutkowsky said. Financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed.

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