Is cloud computing stealing VC dollars away from SOA?

VC guys have a tendency to spend in areas they collectively consider 'emerging,' and SOA is perhaps no longer cool enough for VC

There has been a lot of commentary around the VC world recently. The most interesting was fellow InfoWorld blogger whurley, who addressed the issue that cloud computing could be hurting venture capitalism, sighting the fact that cloud computing is reducing the need for capital, thus the need for venture capitalists.

Additionally, there has a been a lot of blogging out there around the shift to cloud computing by the VC, and how everyone who has something resembling software is making a play for the clouds, no matter if they have a legitimate offering or not. Indeed, I'm getting inundated with requests for briefings around "new cloud computing" offerings, typically from companies selling on-premise software just looking to become more relevant.

So, remember SOA? It's been out there as a notion of years, and there are clearly many venture-backed companies selling SOA, but I don't see new venture-backed SOA startups, and the money flowing into the existing players seems to be from the existing investors, and also seems to be contracting.

A few may not need as much venture. Guys like Active Endpoints are reporting strong sales among the smaller players, but others are reducing the burn to account for the reduced support from venture. Personally, I'm seeing a lot of product management and product marketing people out on the street now, laid off from venture-based SOA startups.

The larger players are reporting strong SOA sales, relative to the economy, but they don't need to rely on venture capital.

The fact of the matter is that SOA is now middle-aged when you consider the maturation of the SOA hype cycle, and at this point most of the better smaller players have either figured out how to become profitable -- thus don't need VC -- or have been purchased during the serial SOA consolidation that took place a few years ago.

The VC guys have a tendency to spend in areas they collectively consider "emerging," such as cloud computing, and thus I'm sure many VC pitches talking about "SOA," "agility," and "reuse" just are not getting the play these days. Moreover, many existing VC-backed SOA companies may find that the money they need just won't be there; thus, a few will sell on the cheap and a few will close their doors. It's all part of the natural cycle of technology, but painful nonetheless.

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