Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Siebel makes strategic bet on Microsoft

CRM vendor Siebel is the latest major player to pick sides in the Web services platform battle between open J2EE standards and Microsoft's .NET Framework. Although Siebel will continue to support and interoperate with J2EE-built applications, it is putting the bulk of its development effort into .NET. In addition, Siebel will optimize its applications for Microsoft server operating systems and its SQL Server database. In return, Microsoft has agreed to make its Biztalk integration server compliant with Siebel's Universal Application Network (UAN). This will allow existing Siebel installs as well as other software that is UAN-compliant to interoperate via Biztalk. The new version of Biztalk is expected to ship in early 2003.

Siebel's move to get close to Microsoft is in contrast with other large enterprise systems vendors, such as SAP, which is a strong supporter of J2EE, and J.D. Edwards (JDE), which is in near total alliance with IBM, another strong supporter of J2EE. Siebel's move is not without risk. Microsoft is rolling out its own small/mid-tier CRM solution. Even though Siebel sells mainly to larger organization, at some point Siebel may find itself competing with Microsoft for CRM deals in mid-size companies.

Furthermore, by identifying with Microsoft, Siebel risks alienating those large company prospects that have standardized on J2EE as well as on non-Microsoft databases and operating systems. Reportedly, the bulk of Siebel customers (65%) run over Oracle databases, with 25% on MS SQL Server, and the remaining 10% on IBM's DB2. How will all those Oracle and DB2 shops feel about Siebel's favoring Microsoft technologies?

CRN has more analysis of the Siebel/Microsoft announcement.