RealTime IT News

Moving Apps Proves Stable Ground

The market for software that pushes applications across networks grew 4.4 percent in 2003. According to IDC, the growth is projected to continue every year through 2008, as IBM continues to lead the space with a healthy market share.

IBM led the application deployment sector, which includes application, Web and integration servers and message-oriented, transaction-server and access-integration middleware, with a 35.6 percent share.

IDC chalked up IBM's dominance to the continued success of its legacy mainframe and OS/400 systems middleware. BEA and Oracle follow with 11.5 and 5.9 percent, respectively.

In evidence that the economy is improving from its weak position of two years ago, the three rivals all gained share compared to 2002, when the software market was saddled with the worst of the effects of the 2000 dot-com bust. The application deployment software segment amassed over $7 billion in sales in 2003.

Dennis Byron, vice president and business process automation and deployment software analyst at IDC, said in a statement that BEA led the fiercely competitive deployment software segment for Linux- and UNIX-based applications, with Oracle growing at three times the market average.

Byron said BEA is strong on these platforms in North America. But IBM continued to hold a wide lead overall because of its popular transaction-server and message-oriented middleware, including its CICS Transaction Server software platform and WebSphere MQ message broker products.

Byron listed a few key market drivers, including the increasing popularity of heterogeneous computer environments. He also noted that UNIX, Linux and Windows systems will slowly displace IBM's overall dominance in middleware, opening the field to other players.

Other propellers include a trend of professional developers and their management moving to platforms with increased functionality. Lastly, the analyst said increased demand for business process automation (BPA) features is driving middleware growth.

IDC measured the software revenue as the combination of new license revenue and activity related to previous years' licenses. The company culled data from over 1,200 IT managers in North America in October/November 2003 for the results.