What's in store? Progress buys eXcelon
- By Colleen Frye
Sonic Software received an early holiday present from its parent company,
Progress Software Corp. Progress' $24 million acquisition of eXcelon Corp.,
announced in October, is intended to strengthen Sonic's play in the high-end
enterprise integration market. The integration of eXcelon's XML technology and
products with the SonicXQ Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), which delivers
standards-based integration through Web services and JCA, ''will give us better
ammunition at the high end'' to compete with the likes of webMethods and Tibco,
said Gordon Van Huizen, vice president of product management at Sonic.
''Sonic's strategy was to enter the integration space, which we did earlier
with the XQ product,'' he added, ''which was a distributed integration platform
that intentionally didn't tackle high-end integration challenges,'' such as
business process management and partner integration.
The addition of eXcelon's eXtensible Information Server (XIS), Stylus Studio
integrated development environment and Business Process Manager (BPM) for
managing dynamic ebXML processes, will give Sonic that high-end capability, Van
Sonic ''represents the growth strategy for Progress' portfolio,'' said Van
Huizen, which also includes NuSphere Corp. and PeerDirect Co. ''Sonic has been
funded by Progress since '98, entered the messaging market in '99 [with
SonicMQ], and we've done well in revenue growth in a down market,'' said Van
Huizen. An acquisition like eXcelon is attractive to Progress because ''it can
benefit Sonic and shorten our time to market.''
eXcelon's other product line of object database technology, which includes
the ObjectStore OODB and Javelin for high-performance Java caching, will be
folded into Progress Software, said Van Huizen. Progress, founded in 1981, has
its roots in 4GL; eXcelon's OODB comes from its predecessor firm, Object Design
(ODI). ''There's a strong synergy in the cultures of the two companies,'' said Van
Huizen. ''Progress and ODI have known each other for long time.'' Sonic will add
''the lion's share'' of the eXcelon staff working on the XML products, while
Progress will add personnel from the ObjectStore/Javelin staff, although Van
Huizen said the exact headcount is still to be determined. Corporate
headquarters will remain at Progress' Bedford, Mass., location.
Both Progress and eXcelon are publicly held companies. Progress reported that
revenue for the quarter ending August 31, 2002, increased 3% over the same
quarter last year, to $69 million. Net income was $5.5 million, up 12% from the
same quarter last year. eXcelon reported a drop in revenue for the quarter
ending September 30, 2002, to $8 million vs. $11.1 million for the same period
of 2001. Net loss was $8.4 million.
Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.