style="margin-top:70px;" Clickstream


The Big Blue Empire Retakes Ascential

A post on Ascential's fourth quarter financial analyst meeting has been in my backlog for a couple weeks, and now IBM made it a moot point. (If you were hiding in a closet somewhere and didn't hear, or if you don't pay attention to the ETL market, IBM re-acquired Ascential for $1.1B)

My original post was titled "Desperation at Ascential?" and had to do with their odd sales behavior during the fall of last year. They were heavily discounting deals, and I heard from several companies about offers that amounted to 100% discounts, selling based on license conversion and support costs only.

My initial reaction was that they were either desperate to make deals, or they were pushing for market share at the expense of margins. A third possibility offered up by a friend was that Ascential saw Informatica losing momentum, so Ascential was attempting to win deals on price and/or hurt Informatica's margins by driving down price. With the cash Ascential had in the bank, they could afford strategies like this, even if they might not play well with financial analysts concerned about margins.

My suspicion now is that they needed to make a threshold of new customers or market share as part of making the deal come off well prior to the IBM acquisition. We'll probably never know the truth. IBM has a way of making hostile takeovers look like agreeable buyouts to people who don't have good inside information.

The big question now is "what happens next?" Given IBM's abysmal track record in taking advantage of acquired technologies or keeping the product momentum, I don't hold out a lot of hope. Ascential was doing a terrific job of marketing, had the image of being the market leader, much needed product updates were in the works, and the financials looked decent.

My prediction is that they lose the momentum they had due to buyout turmoil, Informatica tried to pick up the slack, management at Ascential is disrupted while integrating with IBM management, and the products start to lag. Websphere has been IBM's focus for integration so we'll may see management of Ascential's products fall into that hole.

Maybe we'll all be lucky, and IBM will keep Ascential largely intact. People have said that about every company they acquire. Lotus Notes is the only product I can think of that's defied the curse of IBM acquisitions.

Update: I can't resist. The spellchecker wants to replace "buyouts". The question is, which sentence is better, the original:
We'll probably never know the truth. IBM has a way of making hostile takeovers look like agreeable buyouts to people who don't have good inside information.
Or the new spellchecked version?
We'll probably never know the truth. IBM has a way of making hostile takeovers look like agreeable buttocks to people who don't have good inside information.
Those with good inside information being proctologists, is my guess. What shareholder wouldn't jump at the chance to have agreeable buttocks for $18.50 per share?

Comments: Post a Comment


Data warehousing, business intelligence, IT strategy and architecture, and occasional interesting bits.

Subscribe to XML feed

Bio / About Me

Check out my book

Clickstream data warehousing book cover Buy clickstream data warehousing from

Search this site or  the web

Site search   Web search
powered by FreeFind
Popular Posts
Primate programming.
Why development in crunch mode doesn't work.
Enterprise data modeling sucks big rocks.
XP Exaggerated.
Ping-pong in the matrix.
Time management for anarchists.
Is Ab Initio worth evaluating?
Job posting: omniscient architect.
Why hiring more sales people won't grow revenues faster.
Some resources for Open Source CMS.

Reading List
The Cruise of the Snark
Blue Latitudes
Everyone in Silico
The Klamath Knot
Swarm Intelligence (Bonabeau)
A three year backlog of F&SF

Listening List
Toots and the Maytals
The Buena Vista Social Club
American Idiot

Watching List
Winged Migration Quicktime trailer
Ghengis Blues
Howl's Moving Castls
A Bronx Tale

Daily KOS
Due Diligence
Boing Boing
Kevin Kelly (Recomendo)
Not Geniuses
3 Quarks Daily

War in Context
Valmiki's Ramayana
Choose the Blue
Third Nature
Mark Madsen
The Data Warehouse Institute
James Howard Kunstler
Clickstream Data Warehousing
Technorati Profile

04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013

Powered by Blogger.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under this Creative Commons License except where indicated.