VMware has announced it is acquiring SpringSource for a proposed $420 million -- sending a clear message to VMware's rivals. The purchase reinforces statements made throughout keynote sessions from past VMworld events that VMware wants to be more than just a virtualization platform provider. The acquisition is set to bolster the company's cloud strategy and goes directly after Microsoft and others. At the same time, the deal seems to put VMware square in the crosshairs of current cloud providers like Amazon, Salesforce.com, and Google; in addition to the SpringSource acquisition, VMware has already taken a 5 percent stake in Terramark, a hosting company based out of Miami.
The company reported that it expects this latest transaction to close by September. VMware president and CEO Paul Maritz described today's news by saying, "Today's modern computing environments are moving to an application and data-centric world powered by state of the art virtualized and cloud computing platforms." Maritz added that the acquisition places VMware right at the intersection of the most important forces in the software market today: virtualization, modern application frameworks, and cloud computing.
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So just what is SpringSource? And why has it commanded such a large price tag? The company provides the Spring Framework, which is the leading enterprise Java programming model used today. The beauty of Spring is its simplicity and ease of use, as well as its vendor neutrality. Spring gained in popularity as developers turned away from J2EE because of vendor lock-in and the resulting complications. The Spring Framework also provides a lightweight programming environment that makes applications portable across open source and commercial application server environments, all of which VMware found quite compelling.