By: Lisa A. Sandford
Abstract: Sun Microsystems again delves into the Java development tool market with its acquisition of NetBeans and Forti. What do these acquisitions mean for other Java tool vendors? By Lisa A. Sandford.
Sun Microsystems again delves into the Java development tool market with
its acquisition of NetBeans and Forté. What do these acquisitions mean
for other Java tool vendors?
If at first you don't succeed...Sun Microsystems Inc. on Wednesday re-entered
the Java development tool box by acquiring NetBeans, a Czech Republic-based
developer of cross-platform Java technology IDEs. The transaction took place
through an asset purchase.
Sun's earlier foray into the Java tool space ended earlier this year with the
discontinuation of Java WorkShop and
Java Studio. The company apparently wants
to stay in the Java application builders/development tools market and hopes its
pairing with NetBeans will be prove a more successful formula.
According to Sun spokesperson Michael Shuster, Sun's intention all along
was to be a Java IDE provider; that strategy, he said, has not changed. Java
WorkShop and Java Studio, he said, served their purpose, but Sun is now focusing
on stronger cross-platform tools.
Roman Stanek, NetBeans founder, describes NetBeans as "the leading Java
IDE for the Linux community." The development tools will be used to extend
the Java platform to give developers a powerful, customizable environment for
developing Web applications for the Internet and intranet, according to Sun.
The same day, Sun also announced the
completion of the purchase of
Forté Software Inc., whose
products will be combined with NetBeans IDE products to provide over a million
Sun Java Development Kit software users with an array of new software
choices, the company says. Those choices range from entry-level products for
individual developers and students to enterprise-class offerings for team
development, according to Sun.
Sun's acquisition of NetBeans should benefit both parties: Sun now becomes a
competitor in the Java tools market and NetBeans is bolstered by the backing of
Sun's visibility and extensive resources. What does the entry of another
contestant in the Java development tools game mean to the other players --
namely Borland JBuilder and
Symantec Visual Café? Alex Roedling, product
marketing manager for JBuilder, says not much.
"We've already been competing with NetBeans and it hasn't affected us in
the past. I don't see Sun's acquisition of it affecting JBuilder," said
Roedling. "In the Java tool space, we are still among the top three leaders
and NetBeans can't match what we offer," he said.
Roedling added that Borland has no plans to do anything different with
JBuilder as a result of Sun's move. "We'll have to see what Sun does with
the tool, " he said. He pointed out that Sun's purchase of NetBeans proves
the importance of IDEs in Java. "I think it's interesting that Sun is
showing a lot of interest in IDEs. They're saying that they're vital to the
success of Java," he said.
At press time, Symantec was unavailable for comment.
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