Did EMC Really Buy X-Hive?

You’d think so given the announcement made oddly through an E-Week exclusive story entitled EMC Buys Dutch Software Company on 7/20/07.

But now it’s been more than 3 months since the announcement and you can find nary a trace of X-Hive on EMC’s website. For example:

  • X-Hive isn’t even listed in the software A-Z index. (Guess it somehow skipped X.)

If I were in a sarcastic mood, I’d say that if I bought X-Hive I’d be reluctant to admit it, too. :-)

As for Mark Logic, thus far the impact of the deal has been negligible. We continue to complement Documentum’s core content management system and to provide customers with best-of-breed XML content delivery. The whole situation reminds me a bit of my life back at Business Objects and our relationship with Oracle.

On the one hand, Oracle didn’t like us because they sold a competing BI tool, Oracle Discoverer. On the other hand, having a great BI tool available helped Oracle sell big data warehouse deals. An Oracle salesrep’s logic was if a best-of-breed BI tool can seal a demo that sells a $3-5M data warehouse, then Business Objects can have their $500K worth of BI revenue.

I think the same argument holds with EMC / Documentum. While ECM infrastructure is nice, what customers actually see is content delivery: so content delivery should be done best-of-breed. Put differently, cheap BI tools, cheap parachutes, and cheap XML content delivery platforms are all bad ideas.

Just as Oracle bottom-skimmed the BI market with Discoverer and co-existed with Business Objects for many years, so I predict that EMC will bottom-skim XML content delivery with X-Hive while co-existing with MarkLogic for the large part of the market that realizes content delivery is not the place “go cheap” in the content value chain.

2 responses to “Did EMC Really Buy X-Hive?

  1. I use Discoverer 10gR2 every day…I have also evaluated other toolsets (Cognos, Bus Objects, etc).I personally see little difference between Discoverer & current BI toolsets. Further, Discoverer was by far the most economical option relative to other toolsets (even those also sold by Oracle, such as the Siebel tools). How do you arrive at the bottom-skimming statement?

  2. Ah, but you’re looking through a “today” lens and I was speaking historically. (I ran marketing at Business Objects from 1995 to 2004.) Since I’ve been out of BI for a while, I can’t do detailed differentiation anymore, but I’d guess two things: (1) that Oracle has caught up quite a bit over the last 10ish years (if for no other reason than buying HYSL)and (2) that differentiation today, relative to BOBJ, is probably found in area like: (1) support for non-Oracle environments, (2) web reporting, (3) high volume enterprise reporting, (4) dashboarding, and (5) Excelcious, the cool add-on to Excel. Simply put: more in the suite than in the one query and analysis product. I know a lot of BOBJoids read this blog, perhaps on of them will weigh in.

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