Two big Microsoft announcements surfaced this week:
- Tibco is developing a TIBCO EMS transport channel for WCF. This will allow .NET WCF services to communicate over Tibco’s Enterprise Message Service bus. For high-perf, real-time messaging, Tibco is the gold standard. Now the Microsoft stack can play in that territory. Very nice. Oh, and for a nice added extra, Tibco will standardize on Silverlight for its RIA (Rich Internet Application) needs.
- Microsoft is acquiring Covast’s EDI technology for BizTalk and will make the technology available to BizTalk licensees with Software Assurance. Building on top of the EDI advances in BizTalk Server 2006 R2, this brings BizTalk into an industry leading position on the EDI messaging front. It also further enhances the value of the BizTalk license, which now includes a variety of adapters and accessories that once imposed significant additional third party costs.
It is worth considering the idea that one of these initiatives hedges the other: the Tibco alliance could be seen as a snub to BizTalk, as the two products compete. Arguably, however, BizTalk does not compete with Tibco (at least not successfully) in high-volume, real-time message processing. Conversely Tibco does not compete with BizTalk on price, and focuses somewhat less on the slower-paced B2B supply chain scenarios where BizTalk continues to make a name for itself.
Furthermore, .NET and WCF can now work with both messaging servers, and that’s a win for the whole Microsoft platform. So the two moves together are, I think, sensible, shrewd, and even brave. The tacit admission of Tibco’s dominance in certain spheres of SOA message bus implementations shows good market insight on Microsoft’s part. The investment in BizTalk’s EDI capabilities consolidates Microsoft’s position in another class of SOA implementation where BizTalk competes very well.