So the tin providers can see the differentiation end coming, they can see the need to drop their high margins are vast & costly sales structures and move into other areas.
A few of these talk a story, but very very few of them appear to be able to do something meaningful or lasting.
Consolidation in the infrastructure stack market - lots of blogs talking about this, lots of disruption and issues, lots of risk & downside for the customer.
Oracle made the first move with an application provider acquiring Sun in order to control their own destiny re infrastructure and have better control of their own margins, but despite this they have a dead h/ware business that they are desperate to force onto customers (although I think few Oracle people understand the word customer
, most seem to interpret it as fund payer for their Porsche & holiday homes). Increasingly we now see that Snoracle's applications are 'only provided' or 'only supported' if bolted to the tin albatrosses bodged together by themselves.
EMC and their pet VMWare are nibbling around the edges purchasing software development tool companies, acquirin some serious individual tallent and now into the DW/BI and eventually database area.
If I look at HP, they have lots - but several areas they are lacking in (excusing the clear lack of sales, marketing & product proposition talent) are :-
- x86 Server Operating Systems
If I look at IBM, they have everything except direction, sales, marketing, focus and conviction...
SAP buying Sybase was interesting for a number of reasons :-
- Removes the last major (meaning deployments in existing data-centres) RDBMS from the table for those infrastructure companies desperate to have a plat in the database world (eg EMC, HP etc)
- Will further muddy the water with SAP's database usage relationship with Oracle
- Might knock some sense into Sybase's management team
- Doesn't seem to add much obvious additional value, synergies or savings for SAP
- Will likely start a bidding war for other 'platform tool' players in the mobility market - although all of these will be competing with the networks & the device providers themselves...
But when do we see the first IT infrastructure company buy a business application software provider? Would you put money on EMC or HP acquiring Teradata, SAP, SAS, Amdocs, Comverse, Sage, Tibco
Is anybody interested in acquiring Citrix? BMC? Symantec? RedHat? Novell?
Of course all of the infrastructure companies are courting Microsoft for partnership scraps off the table in the SMB application areas.
So whilst the masters of FUD fight their whispering battles against each other, the account teams become increasingly desperate and high-maintenance and the manufacturers fight each other (eg Snoralce Vs Intel/HP) as far as I can see it's only the customer that loses - quality, clarity, options, stability all reducing...