Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Death and Life of UDDI, Part II

This is a sequel to You Only Live Twice - The Death and Life of UDDI.

On mid December last year, I met a colleague from Mercury Interactive who was part of the Systinet acquisition process. "Did you hear?" I told him with a large "told you so" smile on my face, "UDDI is dead!" Several hours later we met again and he tried to explain: "that's just the Internet UDDI. Inside the Enterprise everything's still on track". And my reaction was: "Yeah, sure…"

At that time, Mercury went through its worst moments as a company. I assume that some Mercury executives thought that an acquisition at this stage, when the future was unclear, was not a wise move. Undoubtedly, other executives maintained that the Systinet deal should happen, in any case – as Mercury desperately needed some big positive headlines to stop the stock from crashing and to communicate that business is as usual.

This was the moment that IBM, Microsoft and SAP chose to step in and announce the UDDI Business Registry shutdown. It was too good a moment to miss, and here are my assumptions as for the reasons behind the move:

1. SOA Management Leadership

The UDDI market shifted recently from an inventory of services to a disruptive and innovative SOA management infrastructure. This disruption mostly impacts IBM, Microsoft, SAP and other major SOA platforms providers, such as Oracle (as for why it's a disruptive concept see The Toolsmiths, The Manager, His Repository and Its UDDI Lover).

By announcing that UDDI is no longer operative, IBM et al. launched a low-intensity combat against the UDDI vendors (Systinet, Infravio and others). I can assume that my reaction to the excuses given by my Mercury friend was as skeptical as those given by other potential customers of the UDDI vendors (and see Dave Linthicum's reaction, titled "UDDI is a Dead Parrot").

2. Hitting Mercury

We can assume that the M&A teams of IBM et al. knew that a deal was shaping up between Mercury and Systinet. Shutting down UDDI and consequently putting a question mark on the approaching deal would be killing two birds with one stone – the UDDI-based Enterprise SOA Management market and... Mercury – which desperately needed positive and impressive headlines (as the payment of 105M$ cash(!) to Systinet proves). I don't find these news headlines now, but I remember that at the time there were several rumors claiming Mercury itself might become a target for an acquisition if its stock prices keep on dropping.

If Mercury wouldn't have acquired Systinet these rumors could well possibly come true.But Mercury did acquire Systinet and thus the two birds (Mercury and the UDDI market) of our story were not only saved but also regained their power.

All the above is naturally a sheer speculation on my part and I wouldn't have bothered writing about it, unless I was intrigued by the dynamics around the nascent SOA Management market, based on UDDI. It is surely going to be an interesting play.

This is the second post in the UDDI series (You Only Live Twice - The Death and Life of UDDI, The Death and Life of UDDI, Part II, The Toolsmiths, The Manager, His Repository and Its UDDI Lover)


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