Integration, Big Data, Cloud: Speculations on Why HP Wanted TIBCO

Loraine Lawson

HP's attempt-and failure-to buy TIBCO, a business integration and process management software company, is generating a good deal of speculation and gossip in the trade press. The big question on everyone's minds, though, isn't why the deal fell through, but what exactly HP was trying to achieve with the acquisition.


Depending upon whom you ask, HP may have wanted to acquire TIBCO for its:

  • ability to steal market shares from Oracle and IBM
  • foothold in the financial services sector
  • cloud application platform
  • real-time infrastructure
  • data analytics, particularly in Big Data


Any and all of those may be true, but the reason most often mentioned is simply TIBCO's integration capabilities.


HP and TIBCO aren't talking, but Doug Henschen of InformationWeek said TIBCO as HP's acquisition target "speaks volumes about the kind of software HP is after." Henschen wrote:

Tibco would quickly give HP enterprise-grade integration software used by big financial institutions including Citibank Asia, big airlines including Delta and Air France, and big energy and utility companies including ChevronTexaco. With Tibco, HP would have answers it lacks to various IBM WebSphere middleware and InfoSphere information management products.

An article on The Motley Fool suggested HP was after TIBCO's real-time transaction handler, but pointed out such an acquisition might be tricky for TIBCO, which has traditionally been vendor-neutral in its integration work. The piece theorizes that TIBCO may be holding out for more money and a bigger role:

As the metaphorical Switzerland of the data center, TIBCO's software is often the glue that keeps software from various vendors -- or in-house applications -- talking to each other. If CEO Vivek Ranadive is willing to at least talk mergers now, regardless of the final outcome, then the company would be aiming for a bigger role than that, either alone or as part of a larger organization. If HP backed down or was turned away, some other giant of Silicon Valley could pick TIBCO up later.

While most are focused on integration and TIBCO's middleware, Derrick Harris of GigaOM thinks the deal could've been more about cloud and Big Data. Harris points out HP's cloud effort would get a boost from Silver, which is TIBCO's cloud application platform-essentially, he notes, a "Platform-as-a-Service software for developing and hosting composite applications and business processes."


He also suggests TIBCO's BI and analytics tool, Spotfire, would nicely complement HP's recent acquisition of Vertica, which "will be the foundation of its big data strategy, but doesn't comprise enough of the big data bundle to give HP as complete an analytics story as some of its competitors can offer."

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