In September, just as the takeover battle between PeopleSoft Inc. and Oracle Corp. was heating up (again), PeopleSoft announced its largest ever strategic alliance: a $1 billion, five-year technology deal with IBM Corp. At the time, the alliance appeared to some as an attempt to thwart Oracle's long-running hostile takeover of PeopleSoft. But while some may have hoped that IBM could be PeopleSoft's white knight, the alliance brought to PeopleSoft something just as valuable: the IBM middleware technology known as WebSphere.

A family of revolutionary software, middleware acts as a working link to enable different, otherwise incompatible computer programs to run seamlessly together. At a time when companies are struggling to automate and allow real-time data exchanges among internal departments, suppliers and customers, this is business technology's Holy Grail. The market, only five years old, is already at $6 billion and growing, and for a vendor trying to sell pricey ERP systems that in the past have struggled to integrate with other legacy systems, not being able to offer such a package could spell disaster as fast as any takeover.

IBM's WebSphere and Microsoft's .Net come close to owning the market, making software sellers come to them to buy the privilege of linking up with their packages. BEA Systems Inc. also offers middleware called Weblogic.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to Treasury & Risk, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical Treasury & Risk information including in-depth analysis of treasury and finance best practices, case studies with corporate innovators, informative newsletters, educational webcasts and videos, and resources from industry leaders.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Treasury & Risk events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.