iWay to develop adapters in Montreal with Actional deal

Information Builders Inc. subsidiary iWay Software will buy the adapter business of Actional Corp., the companies announced


Included in the deal are all intellectual property and patent rights, along with a development facility in Montreal and the 22 people who work there. The Montreal facility will headquarter iWay’s development efforts on adapters for the Microsoft BizTalk and .Net platforms, according to John Senor, iWay’s president.

“”Our objective … is to become the dominant player in the adapter market,”” Senor said.

Adapters replace hand-coded integration and allow companies access to information on a variety of sources and platforms natively. Senor claimed that in a market of niche players offering connections for specific classes of technology — for example, mainframe or EDI implementations — iWay offers the only comprehensive suite of adapter products.

Actional’s adapter business was focused on Microsoft server platforms. “”Actional’s implementation of BizTalk is quite good,”” Senor said. It’s better suited to the BizTalk and .Net environments than the general architecture iWay offers, he said. Centralizing Microsoft development in Montreal allows the company to develop iWay’s existing strategic partnership with Microsoft without conflicting with efforts on the J2EE front, he added.

Products and trademarks iWay acquires included SOAPswitch, Actional Broker Control and Object Bridge. They will be sold under the iWay brand.

iWay also assumes licence agreements with 150 Actional customers, including Sabre and CIBC; support obligations for those customers; and relationships with a network of 22 resellers and a number of technology partners including PeopleSoft and SAP. iWay also gets the European sales office for Actional’s adapter business, co-located with SAP’s campus in Walldorf, Germany.

Actional will turn its full attention to the Web services management market, said Frank Bergandi, the company’s CEO.

“”Our focus has been Web services management for roughly the last 12 months,”” Bergandi said.

Neither company would divulge the amount of the all-cash transaction — both are privately held companies, so needn’t make that discloosure — but Cohen said the cost was about equal to a year’s revenue for Actional.

Research firm Gartner Inc. has called 2003 a crucial year for vendors in the adapter space, noting that the market can’t support growth for a dozen vendors.

In July, reflecting on a wave of consolidation in the business intelligence market, IBI president Gerald Cohen floated the possibility of a merger or purchase this year. “”The probability that we’re going to buy someone in the next 12 months is about 90 per cent,”” he said then.

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a technology journalist with more than 15 years' experience. He has edited numerous technology publications including Network World Canada, ComputerWorld Canada, Computing Canada and eBusiness Journal. He now runs content development shop Dweeb Media.

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