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Middleware Market Hits the Brakes in 2009

The middleware software market has entered the slow lane in 2009, according to a Gartner report announced on Wednesday.

The report, "Market Share: Application Infrastructure and Middleware Software, Worldwide, 2008," examines the AIM market, which includes technologies such as service-oriented architecture (SOA) solutions, business process management suites (BPMSs) and other integration software.

Gartner is projecting a 0.8 percent decline in the AIM market for this year. The market has been affected by the generally declining economy, plus some uncertainty after Oracle's acquisition of BEA last year, according to the report.

IBM led the AIM segment in 2008 with a 30.8 percent market share. The market shares of its competitors trailed to a large degree, with Oracle holding onto 13.6 percent, BEA with 2.0 percent and Microsoft at 3.6 percent in 2008.

Despite that result, Microsoft has been solidifying its market share in the space via cloud services, according to Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner.

"They are a fast growing vendor with a strong focus on the mid-market," said Biscotti in an e-mail. "BizTalk and the portal features of SharePoint are fast growing and outpacing the market."  

The 2009 slowdown is happening despite positive performance in recent years. The overall AIM market generated $15.1 billion in revenues in 2008, up 6.9 percent compared with $14.1 billion in revenues in 2007. Leading technology segments include integration appliances, SOA, governance technologies, BPMS and enterprise service bus suites -- all of which had double-digit growth in 2008, according to the report.

The largest consumers of AIM technologies are located in North America and Western Europe, according to Gartner. Oracle's acquisition of BEA in April had a "profound effect" on the Asia-Pacific market, which had topped Gartner's previous reports for growth in AIM.

BEA at the time of the acquisition was a leading provider of SOA solutions to the Asia-Pacific market. The acquisition created a "relative uncertainty" in that market that may have delayed purchases, explained Asheesh Raina, principle analyst at Gartner, in a released statement.

In 2007, BEA had been second only to IBM, albeit by a large margin (approximately 20 percentage points).

The market will pick up as Oracle consolidates its latest acquisition of Sun Microsystems, with increased competition at the top, according to Biscotti.

"I foresee major gains from mid-2010 and early 2011 when the ongoing acquisition of Sun (by Oracle) will likely be digested and the middleware offerings consolidated and fully digested by the markets," Biscotti stated. "Customers will benefit from the increased competition between the top vendors."

Emerging technology areas within AIM include extreme transaction processing (XTP) platforms and complex event processing, according to the report. In addition, the BPMS segment is continuing to grow because it can support cost-cutting measures.

According to Biscotti, the emergence of cloud computing will be of interest for XTP technologies.

"By 2013, more than 65 percent of new, cloud-based transactional applications will take advantage of some packaged XTP technologies, in the form of software products or underpinning cloud services," Biscotti stated by e-mail. "IT technology providers should view the convergence of XTP and cloud TP as a major business opportunity for the next five years."

Gartner plans to present additional research findings on the AIM space at its SOA & Application Development and Integration Summit, to be held June 24 to 25 in London.

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.

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