Daniel Sabbah is general manger of IBM Rational Software, within the IBM Software Group. Prior to that, he was vice president of software development, strategy, and architecture for the group. Having begun his IBM career in 1974, Sabbah is experienced in both product development and software research, according to the company. InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill met with Sabbah in San Francisco last week to discuss IBM's application lifecycle management efforts and talk about other subjects such as open source.
InfoWorld: How does IBM Rational differ from Microsoft in its approach to application development and application lifecycle management?
Daniel Sabbah: [IBM's] story is much more sophisticated in its understanding of what people do with the business process of software development than where Microsoft is today. They don’t have any of [these capabilities today, including governance, compliance, globalization. [We understand] what the benefits of leveraging broader communities are and dynamically creating those communities, that kind of thing. So in essence, basically, from a differentiable standpoint we’re already well ahead of where they are. They’re trying to fill out their particular portfolio to just manage basic lifecycle. [We’re already] running while they’re crawling, essentially.
InfoWorld: Specifically, what is IBM’s take on Microsoft's Team System and Team Foundation Server in Visual Studio 2005? Or basically, is it what you pretty much just said?
Sabbah: Yes, that’s basically what I said: Welcome to the world of application lifecycle management. Now Microsoft only has about 20 years to catch up to where everybody else is.
InfoWorld: Is Borland’s selling off its Java and Windows tools simply an indication that it couldn’t compete with Microsoft and open source?
Sabbah: Yes. I think that that’s an accurate statement. Borland is getting into this space around lifecycle management, or trying to. And they’ve decided that the value that comes out of individual tools for isolated capabilities, like J2EE or something like that, is not something that they feel they can compete with in light of a lot of the open source efforts around Eclipse.
InfoWorld: So would you say that Borland, instead of trying to compete with Microsoft and Eclipse, is now trying to compete with IBM Rational? What kind of chance do you give them?
Sabbah: I don’t give them much of a chance, because basically I have multiple sides of this equation. I mean I’m leveraging Eclipse, but I’m also not giving up on the developer tools, because I think I can add value there. And I think it’s also important in being able to actually govern the entire lifecycle process to have core construction tools and assembly tools, so I’m not giving up on that. And then, think about the capabilities that I have in my portfolio to build out these communities of interest and to build out global solutions that scale, that have federated databases, that have the ability to actually manage that kind of development process. When you look at the power of the whole IBM portfolio being brought to bear on that particular space of software engineering, software and systems engineering, I don’t think that there’s anybody that can hold a candle to us .… I'm not going to try to judge Borland. I’m just saying that I like our chances.