Siebel Systems and IBM have signed a pact to make Siebel's applications work with IBM's Java-based WebSphere platform, the companies said Tuesday.
Software developers from both companies will work together to tightly integrate Siebel's CRM (customer relationship management) software with IBM's WebSphere application server and related products that are based on J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition), Siebel and IBM said in a joint statement.
"Siebel will run on top of WebSphere natively as a well-behaved J2EE application," David Schmaier, a Siebel executive vice president said in a conference call with reporters.
Siebel and IBM will each spend US$150 million over a three-year period on the project and are both dedicating 100 engineers to it, Schmaier said.
The pledge of support for J2EE comes three months after Siebel, of San Mateo, California, signed a broad joint development deal with Microsoft Corp. to make its products work with Microsoft's .Net platform, which rivals the J2EE platform.
Siebel is not picking favorites, Schmaier said.
"It is very clear to us that the world is converging on .Net and J2EE. We don't think that is a possibility, it is a certainty. We will provide support for both," he said.
Siebel will have two teams of developers for its Siebel 8 architecture work in parallel to provide support natively for .Net and for J2EE, with an integrated stack for both platforms available in the next 12 to 14 months, Schmaier said.
An integrated stack in the case of WebSphere means cutting out a large part Siebel's own application server and letting WebSphere take over. The Siebel application server will only remain to support CRM-specific functions, Schmaier said.
"We are going to be thinning down the Siebel application server to really focus on CRM concepts," he said.
Siebel and IBM of Armonk, New York, have been jointly selling Siebel's CRM products since 1999. The alliance has resulted in over 1,000 joint customers, including Bank of America Corp. and Caterpillar Inc., the companies said. The J2EE announcement is an expansion of that alliance, they said.