IBM and Enterprise Applications: Big Moves?: Page 2

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The only problem, from the “we don’t do enterprise applications” perspective, is that MRO’s Maximo is an enterprise application that competes head to head with the rest of the enterprise applications market. And in the process Maximo/Tivoli is tackling some big opportunities around which SAP and Oracle, in particular, are making some big bets. Like shop floor integration and asset management in key verticals, to start with.

When asked at their latest briefing whether IBM was now competing with SAP and Oracle, IBM’s answer was that they’ve been doing so since the latter two entered the middleware space, IBM’s self-declared sacred hunting ground. (Let’s leave aside the question of who arrived in the middleware business first.) It was a testy reminder that these erstwhile partners (IBM/Oracle, and IBM/SAP) are also hearty competitors, all the more so as the white space for the big deals that each one thrives on has narrowed in recent years.

What goes around comes around, and it’s clear that IBM’s muscular moves in EAM are going to get a lot of attention in Redwood Shores and Walldorf. What’s not clear right now is what the competitors’ response will be to a well-designed offering that’s heading right at ‘em. But you can sure IBM’s shifting policy won’t go unnoticed: no one, not even IBM, makes that kind of move unchallenged. Stay tuned.

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