IBM, Google Team on Gadgets for the Workplace
03-02-2007, 02:37 PM
IBM, Google Team on Gadgets for the Workplace
IBM and Google announced Wednesday a deal that will allow enterprises to integrate Google Gadgets into IBM's commercial portal software WebSphere. Google Gadgets are small applications, sometimes created by users, that help with specific tasks like finding maps and translating languages.
IBM (NYSE: IBM) has become the first vendor to incorporate Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Gadgets into its commercial portal software, WebSphere , the two tech companies announced Wednesday. Users of WebSphere Portal and WebSphere Portal Express v. 6.0 will have some 4,000 free-of-charge add-ons they can create, customize and use within the WebSphere Portal.
"The delivery of Google Gadgets into a business environment is going to evolve how people work," said Larry Bowden, IBM Lotus vice president of portals and Web interaction services. "IBM and Google together can deliver a content-rich user experience to small business and large enterprises. Google's portfolio of gadgets accessed and managed seamlessly within WebSphere Portal provides an extensive set of services for reuse in user-created situational applications."
IBM Portlet for Google Gadgets will be released in April via IBM's WebSphere Portal catalog, according to the company. Users will be able to search through an Internet directory of gadgets and customize them to run with IBM software , including its customer relationship management (CRM) applications, collaboration services and enterprise resources management applications.
The deal brings Google Gadgets to employee desktops throughout an enterprise. The gadgets are small applications created by Google users, such as language translators, package delivery tracking tools, Podcast search tools, Wikipedia information finders, YouTube players, Google Maps utilities, traffic information and Google Docs & Spreadsheets.
Business workers download the gadgets to their desktops, allowing the tools to make their way into the corporate network environment whether or not they receive the go-ahead from their IT department. Kathy Quirk, a program manager at IDC, told TechNewsWorld that the tie-up provides businesses with a controlled or IT-sanctioned use of consumer technologies within the workplace.
"By providing support, IBM is minimizing the security and management risk, which is a big concern for IT," she continued.
For business workers, Quirk explained, these gadgets provide a way to customize desktops, provide new methods to display and analyze business data, and add new information sources that can help them during the course of the workday. In terms of the enterprise, one of the attractions of making gadgets accessible via a portal to a large number of people is that it gives the company a chance to experiment and test them out.
"The interesting thing to watch will be how organizations adopt these gadgets and build applications that deliver business value," she said. "Right now, Web 2.0 tools like gadgets are bright and shiny objects that are hard to resist, and enterprises are evaluating how best to incorporate these tools."
Ultimately, that will lead to some great new ideas for business applications, Quirk said
The War for Enterprise 2.0
The inclusion of gadgets is a new trend and it will be a must-have, Laura Didio, research fellow at Yankee Group, told TechNewsWorld.
In its ongoing fight with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and other competitors, Google has definitely won the day with this deal, said Didio, adding the partnership helps tie up Google's already impressive dominance in this area.
"Google and IBM have a common competitor -- Microsoft," Didio explained. "And Microsoft [in this market] is definitely at the kids' table at this point and time. It is truly a stick in the eye for Google's competitors. Any time you have two giants form an alliance, you have to take them more seriously."
The announcement was a "huge step for IBM" that highlights the so-called "consumerization of the enterprise," Jonathan Edwards, another Yankee Group analyst, told TechNewsWorld. As technology becomes more sophisticated and accessible to home users, according to Edwards, "workers today want less distinction between their home and work IT environments.
"With IBM incorporating these Google gadgets, which users as consumers are very familiar with and starting to use more and more within their business environment as well, with their more business related portlets that is a great step for them," he continued.
The challenge for IBM, Edwards said, is making sure that the interoperability between the IBM portlets and the gadgets is seamless, so the data a worker gets from his company's server is translated to Google maps, for example, without a hitch.
"Is it going to make it easier for me to click on a client of mine and then locate them using the Google Maps widget without having to copy and paste anything? The interoperability between the two will be very important," he explained.
"It's a good step for IBM. A lot of other types of vendors recognize that this Enterprise 2.0 type stuff -- that what users desire and that's what they want. IBM has to provide it. And google has a very strong brand and user friendly [user interface]," Edwards said.
Making Itself Familiar
Google has launched another viral attack against Microsoft as the search engine giant attempts to move into the application market, according to Edwards.
"Google's approach is a viral approach. With their apps release, they said they are not going directly after Microsoft and IBM. That is up for interpretation, but they do believe that with the more users who use Google products, the more those users will like them and the better the products will become. And that will encourage use on the consumer and enterprise side," he explained.
"For Google, this seems like a way for them to make their way into larger enterprises," Edwards concluded. "This is a good move because they are getting users in large enterprises to use their stuff and that is their viral approach
03-10-2007, 02:25 PM
Oracle Opens Up to Eclipse Foundation
Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) has joined the board of the Eclipse Foundation, an open source consortium, and says it will donate its Java persistence framework, Oracle TopLink, to help grow the new Eclipse Persistence Platform Project.
The Eclipse software is already widely used for writing applications in Java and other programming languages, and TopLink is one of the pieces of Oracle's Fusion middleware, acquired in 2002 from the former WebGain Java tools company.
Oracle TopLink is persistence architecture, offering object-to-relational, object-to-XML (extensible markup language) and Enterprise Information System data access through all of the major standards, including the Java Persistence API (application programming interface), Java API for XML Binding, Service Data Objects and the Java Connector Architecture, according to Oracle.
Oracle TopLink works with any database, any application server , any development toolset and process and any Java application architecture, the company added.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Oracle has been an Eclipse member since the foundation's inception and has offered several contributions in the past. However, its donation of Oracle TopLink to the open source community is the most significant to date.
It's a "win-win for Eclipse and the community," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation.
"We are excited about the opportunities this proposed project presents -- and for the community, which will gain a complete open source persistence platform," Milinkovich said.
Oracle will also pay Eclipse's maximum annual dues of US$250,000.
Although Oracle has made contributions to open source projects in the past, the latest move, with the open sourcing of Java and multi-party participation, signals a continuing warming trend, said Jonathan Eunice, principal IT advisor with Illuminata.
However, at the end of the day, Oracle is a proprietary software company. It makes its money licensing code for money and controlling that code.
"They are still going to be selling enterprise applications and middleware data bases, just as is IBM (NYSE: IBM) , but the developer portions don't make money," Eunice told LinuxInsider. "These companies make it on the deployment end."
"These are all essentially developer plays," he added. "The money is made down the road in deployment."
Taking the Lead
In addition to its code contribution, Oracle proposes to lead a new Eclipse run-time project to provide a set of persistence services that can be utilized in Java and OSGi environments.
The company plans to work closely with Eclipse Foundation members, using the existing Oracle TopLink code as the starting point for the project.
Through its participation in the OSGi Enterprise Expert Group, Oracle will also collaborate on the creation of blueprints that define how OSGi applications can access standardized persistence technologies, the company said.
The Eclipse Persistence Platform project will be available free under the Eclipse Public License.
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