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5/31/2011
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Software AG Buys Metismo To Support Mobile Apps

The middleware vendor's latest acquisitions nets a platform for writing apps once and delivering them across Android, Apple, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows devices.

Software AG, a business process management, data management, and integration vendor, announced Tuesday that it has acquired Metismo Ltd., a U.K.-based provider of a device-independent mobile application development platform.

The purchase of Metismo, the terms of which were not disclosed, gives Software AG a solid footing in mobile computing, a direction that's crucial for enterprise software vendors in order to meet demand for business-oriented smartphone and tablet-based apps.

Metismo's Bedrock platform lets developers write apps once in Java and deliver them across a range of supported mobile devices, including Android phones and tablets, Apple iPhones and iPads, BlackBerry devices, HP webOS products, and Symbian and Windows smart phones. The platform also exploits mobile-device sensing capabilities, so developers can incorporate GPS, audio, and video feeds into their applications.

Software AG is among both the leaders and largest players listed in the 2010 Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave reports on business process management suites. The most obvious fit for Metismo is mobilizing business processes built on the vendor's BPM platform.

But Software AG also is a middleware vendor that provides data management and services-oriented data integration software. As part of this portfolio, Metismo fills an infrastructure need that Software AG didn't previously address.

"We have adapters to talk to virtually any system, and now we can grab that data and make it available to virtually any mobile device," Matt Green, vice president of product management at Software AG, said in an interview.

Software AG is $1.4 billion, Darmstadt, Germany-based vendor that presents itself as an independent alternative supplier to the likes of IBM and Oracle. It also competes against other bantam-weight independents such as Tibco and Progress Software.

The Metismo deal is the latest in a long line of acquisitions by Software AG aimed at bolstering the company's global footprint and technology breadth. Just last week, Software AG acquired Terracotta, which offers in-memory data management technology for supporting real-time performance in high-scale applications. In October Software AG acquired Data Foundations with plans to integrate the vendor's master data management technology into its middleware.

In its largest deals to date, Software AG in 2009 acquired IDS Scheer, a decades-old company that practically invented business process modeling, and in 2007 it purchased webMethods, a leading services-oriented integration infrastructure provider. The webMethods deal, in particular, bolstered Software AG's presence in North America, where the company says it now derives a third of its revenue.

By adding mobile to its in-memory, master data management, process modeling, and integration credentials, Software AG is not only bolstering its breadth and credibility as a one-stop-shop for process-management and application middleware, it's also raising its profile as a potential acquisition target. Hewlett-Packard, in particular, is known to be shopping for software, and Software AG's collection is getting more impressive with each deal.

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