What the IBM Worklight Acquisition Means for WebSphere Customers

  • 6-Feb-2012

Last week, IBM acquired erstwhile partner Worklight, an Israel-based vendor.

Worklight is a platform for developing mobile applications that enables you to build different types of mobile apps: HTML5 based-web apps, hybrids, and (especially) pure native apps.

Our research subscribers know that IBM already offered a "Mobile Portal Accelerator" for building mobile-optimized websites. The Mobile Portal Accelerator is targeted at WebSphere Portal customers and is also well integrated with Big Blue's Web Content Management offering.

What you may not know is that IBM actually licensed some technology from a 3rd-party vendor, Volantis, to build that accelerator. Then Volantis was acquired by Antenna Software last year.

I don't know yet if that acquisition resulted in some restrictions in IBM's usage of Volantis' codebase and led to them to buy Worklight. I hope that's not the case because Volantis (and hence IBM's mobile portal accelerator) are fairly sophisticated tools for building browser-based mobile apps (as opposed to downloadable apps). While there's some overlap with Worklight's features, Worklight clearly specializes in downloadble apps and not necessarily browser-based apps. Either way, there's possible disruption here for WebSphere customers.

We will keep tracking this. Meanwhile, if you are an IBM customer with mobile ambitions, make sure you fully understand the road maps of both these offerings.

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