Oracle has finally done what so many rumours have pointed to for at least a few years:
made an offer to buy BEA. I am sure that there will be much comment on the challenges of dealing with the total overlap between BEA’s core product – the WebLogic applications server – and Oracle’s application server (both in the top three by most measures of market size). The move should also take the wind out of speculation that Oracle will make a spoiler bid for Business Objects.
The writing off of BEA as a business by some has been totally over-stated. However, I think if this bid is successful it does marks the end of the J2EE era. Not that I am suggesting that J2EE application servers are going to go away of course. Rather, the world has moved on from what created that market in the late nineties. At one end of the spectrum, the focus has moved back towards technology independent architectures with SOA (just as CORBA attempted to do in the pre-J2EE days – all be it by creating another set of technology). At the other end, lighter weight approaches such as Spring have superceded the heavier and more complex EJB model (which to be fair has also moved with the times but probably too late).
It is also worth noting that the disappearance of the large enterprise focused ISVs continues – in one week we appear to be losing another two. It is beginning to look like that the enterprise software market is heading for a strongly polarised world made up of a big-four (MS, Oracle, IBM and SAP) with a huge gap to the next division.