IBM Speaks Out on Red Hat-JBoss Deal

IBM has broken its silence about the potential implications of Red Hat’s acquisition of JBoss on their current close relationship, saying that it will continue to partner strongly with both Red Hat and Novell.

Red Hat announced April 10 that it was looking to acquire JBoss for $350 million, a move that significantly expands its reach and product portfolio, but puts the open-source vendor in direct competition with partner IBM’s WebSphere products going forward.

“We have a strategic relationship with both Red Hat and Novell around Linux, and nothing has changed there. Red Hat is still number one in the Linux market, and we are still number one in Linux server revenue, and so that provides a really strong, fundamental relationship here,” said Scott Handy, IBM’s vice president for Linux and open source, in Somers, N.Y.

IBM’s viewpoint on JBoss and Java and that part of the industry was basically that all Java was good.

“We are all on the same side of the fence here; all Java is good. We have a very balanced point of view here, and as the Java world has always worked, we cooperate on standards and compete on implementations,” he said.

Ultimately, there are the closed Microsoft .Net environment and the open Java environment, which IBM likes.

The open-source versions of all this has helped accelerate more of the adoption of open standards and open source, which IBM views as a very good thing, he said.

IBM is also participating in that through acquisitions such as Gluecode and reaching places that WebSphere had not reached previously with its strategies, particularly in the SMB space and in emerging countries, Handy said.

“Our strategies are all actually aligned from that point of view, IBM just brings the value-add from a product perspective through WebSphere and our strategy there is to leverage the adoption of Java and the standard but bring value-add through a set of solutions on top of that through the WebSphere family of products. That’s the instantiation of our strategy that happens to be built on Java,” he said.

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