What the Big Vendors Did Last Month, and What It Means to You

By Geoffrey James

Computer Associates announced eTrust Internet Security Suite, the latest release of its Internet security solutions. The software defends consumers against a wide range of Internet-borne threats posed by hackers, viruses, identity thieves, spyware and spam, and offers the added protection of parental controls. eTrust Internet Security Suite also has preconfigured settings and automatic updates.
Our Take: This is an odd product for CA, because the majority of their offerings are for corporations. However, if a corporate-oriented software company were to get into the consumer business, this would be an excellent place to gain a foothold, because no other computer vendor seems willing (or able) to do what it takes to make the Internet a safer place to operate.

IBM launched new software designed to help systems engineers manage their development environment and more easily comply with industry-specific regulations. Built on Eclipse, IBM Rational Systems Developer helps organizations trace industry-specific regulatory requirements from design to implementation. Rational Systems Developer is also able to create a visual model of a system’s software design and can automatically generate code from the design, thereby saving time and increasing accuracy in future projects.
Our Take: This offering documents the growing relationship with IBM and Rational Software, which has long had strong offerings in the area of standardized software development technologies. What’s interesting here is that IBM is packaging its relationship as a way to enforce compliance with regulations, which is a substantial area of IT growth in the wake of Sarbannes-Oxley.

Microsoft released Microsoft® Small Business +, a suite of free, personalized online resources and technical support offerings — including a 45-day free trial of unlimited advanced technical support options that customers can choose to purchase. This is an extension of Microsoft’s Small Business Center Web site, which provides technical resources and extended support for small companies. Also included is a training library developed by third-party experts to help small-business owners and their employees improve role-based skills such as marketing, technology management and financial management.
Our Take: Microsoft is doing everything it can to establish itself in this market, which is generally poorly served by the rest of the computer industry. The approach is calculated to get this underserved market to see Microsoft as a business partner rather than a software vendor. Smart.

Oracle announced availability of the SOA Suite, a set of middleware products. Using the Suite, organizations are supposed to be able to “seamlessly connect, extend and evolve their existing IT systems to rapidly deliver new business services.” The Suite is interoperable and supports Oracle and non-Oracle application servers and messaging buses, including IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic and JBoss Application Servers.
Our Take: Readers of this newsletter are well aware that we’re no fan of the middleware concept. This announcement does nothing to convince us otherwise. The dead-give-away that this is mostly hype is the word “seamlessly.” Nothing in software is seamless; even making the applications in Microsoft office work together requires some monkeying around. As for connecting the back end of applications from multiple vendors – if you believe that this is seamless, there’s a very tall tower in Paris that’s up for sale.