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Oracle Expands ID Management Offering with Oblix Acquisition

Oracle's acquisition of identity management vendor Oblix expands the company's ID management capabilities beyond its own products. Oracle has been offering ID and access management solutions for more than two years, but the Redwood Shores, CA-based company's much publicized acquisition of PeopleSoft created a need for an ID solution that could yield an enlarged, heterogeneous product set.

With about 200 employees, Oblix is small potatoes compared with Oracle's other recent purchases (PeopleSoft, Retek), but the company specializes in ID management across heterogeneous environments, and that fills a strategic hole for Oracle.

"This acquisition will allow Oracle to offer customers a complete solution for securely managing identities," said Thomas Kurian, SVP of Oracle's Server Technologies group, "one that is even more flexible, scalable and integrated and helps customers lower the cost of regulatory compliance. These capabilities will further enhance Oracle's market-leading security infrastructure. We are very pleased to be joining with Oblix to provide a new level of security and service to our customers."

Founded in 1996, the privately held, Cupertino, CA-based Oblix sells ID management software designed to deliver Web access control, including single sign-on, ID administration and user provisioning. Oblix customers include Coca-Cola, American Airlines, British Airways, Cisco Systems, General Motors, Hitachi and the US Postal Service.

ID management companies are hot right now, thanks in no small part to recent, headline-grabbing ID heists at ChoicePoint and Bank of America, and subsequent promises from lawmakers to take legislative action that puts the responsibility for ID security on enterprise shoulders. On the same day Oracle made its Oblix announcement, Computer Associates disclosed that it had acquired ID management company InfoSec, and Microsoft said that it intends to build ID management capabilities into its next version of the Windows OS. The day before, BMC announced the purchase of ID management specialist OpenNetwork.

"[I]it looks like the big guys are taking ID management very seriously," observed Ovum analyst David Bradshaw in a commentary on the acquisition. "But there's more to jumping on the bandwagon here." These acquisitions are about the need for developing a security capability for an intrinsically heterogeneous world, he said.

Oracle did not disclose financial details of the Oblix acquisition. Oracle SVP Thomas Kurian said during a conference call on Tuesday that his company plans to continue selling Oblix's existing products while integrating the company's technology into its own offerings. Kurian said that his company would integrate 100 percent of the Oblix sales and engineering staff into the Oracle workforce.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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