JBoss former chief Marc Fleury--now senior VP of Red Hat's JBoss division--discusses the impact of the deal on the company's existing partnerships and customers, future coopetition with IBM, and pact with Microsoft.
As the Red Hat-JBoss Merger nears completion, JBoss chief -- now senior vice president of Red Hat's JBoss division -- sat down with CRN Senior Writer Paula Rooney at the Red Hat Summit in Nashville, to discuss the impact of deal on its existing partnerships, customers and partners, future co-opetition with IBM and interoperability pact with Microsoft. Red Hat announced its planned acquisition of JBoss in April and the deal was expected to be completed by the end of May. Red Hat and JBoss will detail their integration plans at JBoss World in Las Vegas in mid June.
CRN: Remind our readers. Why did JBoss agree to be acquired by Red Hat?
Fleury: Red Hat has a much bigger cash flow and resources. It will help us in our geographical expansion and from a sales and support standpoint. Red Hat has international presence and it accelerates our expansion plans in Japan and Europe. The third opportunity for growth is channel development. We want to integrate our two organizations and have access to the depth of relationships Red Hat enjoys. That will be very beneficial. And the fourth [benefit] is development.
CRN: How so?
Fleury: Even before the acquisition, JBoss wanted to get deeper enterprise penetration but some customers were reluctant to move to a smaller company. We may be used in the enterprise but we have not become the standard for SOA [service-oriented architecture] development and deployment. We can see how Red Hat can enable us to scale the operation for that. It also gives us deeper account penetration with existing Red Hat sales offices and customers.
CRN: What will the combined entity offer?
Fleury: A combined JBoss and Red Hat offering is more compelling for customers and we can provide full end to end solutions.
CRN: What does Red Hat's close partnership with IBM mean for JBoss, a traditional rival of JBoss? And how might Red Hat's acquisition of JBoss impact its relationship with IBM?
Fleury: It doesn't change the IBM dynamics much. If anything changes, then the relationship [between JBoss and IBM] has to mature into one of cooperation. Clearly IBM enjoys a very good relationship with Red Hat on the operating system side and IBM is a key partner for Red Hat going forward. It's like Sun and Oracle. They're used to cooperating on one front and competing on the other.
CRN: Will IBM distribute JBoss applications server and middleware on its servers preloaded with Red Hat Linux?
Fleury: I do not know that.
CRN: JBoss and Novell signed a strategic alliance before Red Hat bought your firm. Will that relationship end?
Fleury: Novell has been an early partner of JBoss and brought us very early into their organization and the relationship was fairly developed prior to the acquisition. From our end, we want to continue with that relationship. We'll pursue platform neutrality. We're Java-based and with that comes support for many operating systems, [Novell]SUSE, Red Hat Linux, Windows and I see no reason to disrupt that. Novell has a lot of products and we're providing them with the best [middleware] platform. We have customers in common.
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