HP buys Mercury – is it IBM envy?

I heard a lot about Mercury at the Rational Users Conference.  How they had a good product but were having problems delivering on product promises…I’ll give them a pass there, all software and companies have issues.

It caught my attention not that they were acquired but by which company, HP of course.  It is good in any number of ways that they did this.  Sure Mercury is a big competitor of Rational, but if you’ve read any of my blogs, I like competition, it makes you better or your beaten.   The fact that HP is strengthening it’s middleware to compete confirms to me that we are on the right track.  You don’t copy a losers strategy hope to stay in business.   I’m looking forward to the fight there.

It’s also good as it gives Rational some time to move forward during the HP/Merc aquisition and integration phase, always a time of slowdown while you evaluate how to integrate multiple HR, benefit, Accounting, manager redundancy issues to begin as one company.  My favorite is marketing departments having to combine…talk about the department of redundancy department.

Companies acquire other companies all the time.  Why I care about this one was that it was pointed out to me by a number of analyst’s that HP (specifically Carly) had IBM envy and specifically Lou (Gerstner) envy when they acquired Compaq.  The reason given was for a play in the Services market that IBM had explored, developed and became the market leader.   Now they are trying to be a middleware player.  Back to trying who to emulate, IBM is a good role model if you do it right.  I don’t see them as a Services force, albeit they are a player.
Not that Mercury was a bad acquisition, nor that trying to be a middleware player is bad either, but the 4.5 billion seemed excessive to me for a company that has problems like stock option issues, multiple acquistions recently, product delivery.  Maybe I don’t know the rest of the story yet. Given they way overpaid for what they got out of Compaq (what happened to the iPaq sales?)  it seems as though they pay too much for what they get.

Mark Hurd has done a great job fixing the screw ups that Carly created, but 4.5 billion is a lot of change….

RSDC, Analyst Comments

I asked a number of analysts for their comments on the show. Some graciously provided their thoughts, others declined due to their firms comment (approval) policies. I always find them insightful and in the case of Carey Schwaber, very witty. for those who weren’t at the show, the Rational uniform was a blue polo shirt.

Here you go in no order other than how they sat in my email.
Steve O’Grady – Redmonk
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of RSDC to me has been the focus on
ISVs; Rational has traditionally been supporters of both the Java
and .NET ecosystems, and the emphasis now appears to be growing the
overall ISV network aggressively. What would be interesting would be a
Rational that more aggressively embrace dynamic languages; that would be
an opportunity to grow a volume base of developers, and the ISVs would
likely follow.

Melinda Ballou – IDC
“The concept of open commercialization — applying community development
and some of the other benefits of open source to the evolution of
commercial products — is intriguing and engaging on many levels. How open
can a commercial vendor be about its bugs, its testing issues, its
performance? Yet focused community attention could be a potent force for
change and product evolution, as well as enabling closer attunement with
end-user direction. Given Eclipse’s past history in this context, we look
forward to seeing appropriate evolution of these same concepts in a new
context, and to seeing how far and how fully IBM Rational is able to apply
this radical concept to its commercial product line.”

Carey Schwaber – Forrester
This year IBM had an impressive amount of new functionality to release. The 7.0 version of Team Unifying Platform is a big step forward. And better yet, it’s also an indication of a really exciting product direction for IBM.

Also, I’d really appreciate it if IBM Rational employees would ALWAYS wear light blue polos. I can just imagine: You’re waiting for a latte at Starbucks and you think of a question about ClearQuest. What do you do? Ask the guy in the light blue polo waiting next to you.

Mike G.

Ask Carey Schwaber, she’ll know what to say.

RSDC, analyst technical review

We took the analysts on the showcase floor to have them review the product offerings from both the Rational and developerWorks Brands.  Hats off to Diane Flis’ team of Monica Grace, Teressa Jimenez and Karen Moore who were there and pulled off another analyst event at RSDC.

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Bola Rotibi, Ian Wesley and Clive Longbottom.  Not featured for Ian’s sake, David Beckham.  Your mutual agent ok’d the publishing rights for the photo.

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Showcase floor busy with activity.

Blogger Meetup at RSDC

Well, after all the anticipation, we finally had it last night at RSDC. Thanks go out to Steve O’Grady for giving us advice on this and for showing me the best comment related to the meetup which came from an unnamed IBMer who said he would go anywhere there were free drinks.

It was a success and step forward for IBM in progressiveness. As we’ve found with our partner programs, there’s nothing like face to face discussions, no matter how much you’re web enabled or connected through a myriad of devices.

My only regret was that Grady Booch who had agreed to be the host couldn’t make it. Please send him your best wishes. I’ll speak to his absentia presence at the meeting later this week.
Here are some photo’s from the meetup.

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Steve O’Grady, Diane Flis, Rawn Shah

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Rawn Shan, Steve O’Grady, Ian Wesley

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Teressa Jimenez, Murry Cantor
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Greg Hamilton, Colleen Inches

My real first day at RSDC

Today was the opening day at RSDC. If you go to the show blog page, you’ll be able to listen to podcasts of the keynote and of executives at the show. Quite a nice touch.

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Above is the workroom for press and analysts.

We had 14 analysts and about 17 press attend for a total of 125 1:1 briefings with the executives of both Rational and developerWorks. Conversations were all over the board, so I encourage you to listen to the podcasts. Here were the analysts who are in attendance:

ZapThink Jason Bloomberg
Forrester Mike Gilpin
Forrester Carey Schwaber
Gartner Jim Duggan
Quocirca Clive Longbottom
Gartner Matt Light
IDC Melinda Ballou
Ovum Ian Wesley
Ovum Bola Rotibi
Redmonk Stephen O’Grady
EZInsight Liz Barnett
IDC Steven Hendick
CPDA Vasco Drescun
Burton Group Chris Howard

The evening provided a dinner at Shula’s restaurant for the analysts and the Execs. The press had their own get together to do the necessary shmoozing.

Tomorrow is another day of the same. Keynote, Press Conference, 1:1’s and Blogger meetup. A few links to it now besides mine come from Buell Duncan and Steve O’Grady.

My first day at RSDC

Actually, my first day at RSDC started at 3:45 AM on the Friday before the show when I went fishing at the Mosquito Lagoon right in front of Cape Canaveral. This is a speckled trout that was caught on a root beer fluke, sort of a mullet/shrimp imitator.

Unlike the massive amounts of cellphones, crackberry’s, laptops and other technology here at the event, there was nothing on the lagoon other than a GPS and a depthfinder on the boat. It was quiet and beautiful. What was really great was that we fished right in front of the space shuttle and the Vehicle Assembly Building at the cape. (OK, there is a lot of technology at the Cape, but not the layman’s variety that we haul around on planes and at user conferences).

So today, you’ll read about the Rational announcements, and I’ll blog about the analyst interactions and what they like (and maybe dislike) about the event, but my first day was with my great friend Frank on his new boat, enjoying nature and clearing my mind.

Here’s Frank with a nice Redfish that was a rod bender.