HP seeks neutral ground in net services war

HP has bolstered its e-services initiative by unveiling Internet software that positions the company on neutral ground between...

HP has bolstered its e-services initiative by unveiling Internet software that positions the company on neutral ground between Microsoft's .Net and Sun's Java in the battle for the Internet services software market.

Matthew Burgess

Among the products announced was the NetAction suite, which includes the Bluestone application server technology HP acquired last October, and a revamped OpenView family of products, which has expanded from network management into a business-wide suite of applications.

Although NetAction is based on Sun's J2EE platform, it is also compatible with .Net environments.

According to Summit Strategies Group analyst Dwight Davis, "There is a clear opportunity for any vendor that can bridge the two worlds of Java and Microsoft - interoperability and flexibility are key."

However, Bloor Research analyst Tony Lock believes that as a latecomer HP will find it difficult to make an impact in the already crowded market.

"The purchase of Bluestone brought an acknowledged application server. However, technology alone is not enough to succeed. The organisation needs to show that it can function as a software company," he said.

Lock also warned that it would be difficult to make NetAction a recognised middleware brand: "Many people do not automatically associate HP with software, and where they do it is likely that it will be the OpenView set that is known rather than the middleware offerings."

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