Gartner: IBM maintains integration lead

Analyst firm states that Microsoft, for the first time, has moved into top five application integration and middleware companies based on license revenue

IBM continued to extend its lead in the overall AIM (application integration and middleware) market over archrivals BEA Systems and Oracle, capturing a little more than 37 percent of the worldwide market in 2004, according to a report released by market researcher Gartner on Tuesday.

Finishing second was BEA Systems with 7.2 percent; Oracle was third with 4.4 percent, and Microsoft fourth with 4.3 percent. Gartner pegged the overall application integration and middleware market to be worth $6.7 billion last year, which is up 5.8 percent over 2003, predicting it will continue to grow at a "slow but positive pace for most segments."

What will continue to propel this market growth, according to the report, will be the widespread need to bundle this kind of software into other products including mobile and wireless applications, integration suites, and other applications where message-oriented technologies are well-suited.

IBM continued to lead in the application server market over BEA by 38.4 percent to 21.7 percent, respectively.

Big Blue's WebSphere integration software ranked first with 21.9 percent share followed by offerings from Tibco with 9.6, Microsoft with 7.7 and webMethods at 5.4.

"IBM has started to build products that Global Services can then build vertical solutions out of. They have 18 vertical solutions and are building more. It gives them the ability to leverage some 20,000 consultants over there in Global Services," said Joanne Correia, a vice president at Gartner and author of the report.

She added that a second factor contributing to IBM's continued growth is the company's WebSphere Express line of software server products, which has given them better access to the 14,000 ISVs who specialize in selling to midsize companies with solutions based around midrange systems, notably the iSeries.

The report states that for the first time, Microsoft has moved into the top five for licensed revenue. The top five vendors in the worldwide AIM market in 2004 for new license revenues include IBM, BEA, Fujitsu, Oracle, and Microsoft. In year over year growth, Microsoft grew some 63 percent whereas BEA had negative license growth over the past 12 months, the report said.

"Microsoft has moved into the top five based on the combined revenues of its BizTalk and SharePoint servers. It is another indication that the market is maturing when midtier companies can start absorbing technology like this and you see volumes climb higher and prices go lower," Correia said.

The AIM and portal market grew at 5.8 percent from 2003 to 2004 with further growth in these markets as the range of AIM technologies continued to increase business process efficiencies, improve integration, and provide better development tools and data access, according to the report.

The most intense battle for market share is in the "composite market," according to the report, which is made up of application servers, integration suites, a number of portal products and application platform suites. Product license revenue for the composite application platform suite was $3.43 billion in 2004. The top five vendors in this arena took almost 57 percent of the total market last year, the report stated.

Gartner plans to reveal the full results of the report next week at its Application Integration and Web Services Summit in Los Angeles.

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