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Vendors Continue Web Services Pledges

Two more software vendors publicly announced their support for Web services recently. Novell Inc. and Data Junction Corp. both joined the likes of Microsoft, IBM, Sun and Information Builders as companies whose plans include support for the Web services protocols in their products.

Novell showed its commitment to Web services by announcing it would spend $212 million to buy software vendor SilverStream Software Inc. The Massachusetts-based company was one of the first to offer a Java application server and now offers Extend, a development environment for Web services applications.

The addition of Web services software to Novell’s portfolio is an attempt to reposition the company as a solutions-focused company, said Novell CEO Jack Messman on a conference call announcing the acquisition.

While Novell dominated the PC-networking world in the late 80s and early 90s with its networking software and operating systems and later held a strong position in directory services with its NDS directory, it's seen many of its products copied by Microsoft and integrated into Windows. Like many companies with a shifting technology, Novell decided to recast itself as a solutions-focused company, expanding the ways it can sell its products.

Its first step in becoming a solutions provider was its purchase of Cambridge Technology Partners, a technology consulting firm, last year. When the deal was closed, Messman took over as CEO leading the company to its new focus on providing integrated solutions to customers.

Novell describes the addition of Silverstream as “the third leg of the stool.” Added to the networking software and consulting division, Novell now has its own development platform for tailoring solutions to customer needs. Conversely, Silverstream now has an improved reach into the market with the consulting unit selling its products. “ It’s a good deal for Silverstream, it’s a good deal for Novell, and it’s a good deal for Novell’s customers,” Messman said on the conference call.

Enterprise integration software vendor Data Junction also revealed its Web services plans last week. The company makes a server product for sharing data between heterogeneous platforms. It announced that in addition to its connectors tailored to individual platforms, it would begin to include SOAP messaging as one of its core technologies.

Data Junction will enable bi-directional SOAP messaging as part of its business process modeling. It also plans to release a SOAP adaptor software development kit (SDK) and WSDL tools later this year. It currently supports SOAP as a way to move data on and off the server.

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