On August 25, TIBCO announced that they will acquire Mashery from Intel for a yet undisclosed amount in the next few weeks. In their announcement they also mentioned the following:
- Mashery’s offering will be named TIBCO Mashery and will become TIBCO’s API management offering
- TIBCO will continue to support its TIBCO® API Exchange products for existing customers
- TIBCO will combine TIBCO® API Exchange Gateway with Mashery and name the combined API management solution TIBCO Mashery
But why did TIBCO acquire Mashery?
After all, TIBCO already had their own API Management solution called TIBCO API Exchange and Vista Equity Partners had been applying the Vista Operational Improvements (e.g. layoffs, pay cuts, real-estate property sell-off, TIBCO NOW conference cancellation, etc.) since they acquired TIBCO last December 2014.
The answer is two-fold.
- First, TIBCO API Exchange, introduced in October 2013, had three components: a developers’ and API authoring portal, a gateway and an analytics component. The developers’ and API authoring portal was very basic and rudimentary compared to other competitive offerings in the market, and it lacked social capabilities and a Content Management System, for example. TIBCO needed to significantly improve their portal to become more competitive so they went out and bought a product with a better one. As we all know, API Management is presently a hot topic and is a key element in the Digital Economy. It also plays an important role in Microservices architecture, so for TIBCO to stay relevant in this new Digital Economy, they needed to have a better API management solution.
- Second, since Intel acquired Mashery back in April 2013, it had relegated it to its security division. During the year (2013-2014) that Intel owned Mashery, its Software and Services Operating Segment had only seen a 1% revenue increase, their second worst performing segment. Mashery, much like TIBCO, was identified by Vista Equity Partners as a target acquisition, an underperforming company from which it expects to gain profits once it applies its Operational Improvements. Moreover, needing to re-vitalize TIBCO’s API Management offering, Vista found the perfect opportunity to acquire Mashery from Intel.
So, now what?
It appears that the acquisition does not include the Intel’s hardware gateway component so the assumption is that TIBCO Mashery’s gateway will most likely be software-based, i.e. TIBCO API Exchange Gateway. As to Mashery’s destiny, it will probably follow the same fate as TIBCO’s. In other words, Vista will start applying their Operational Improvements which usually lead to workforce downsizing, salary rationalization, real-estate property sell-off, conference cancellations, etc., which is bound to affect all aspects of TIBCO product lifecycle having repercussions in quality, time to market, delivery, support, sales, services, and marketing of their products, including Mashery.
The success of TIBCO’s acquisition of Mashery from Intel hinges on how well Vista Equity Partners executes it. Although Mashery offers an on-premise option, Mashery was primarily a strong cloud-based offering whereas TIBCO API Exchange was an on-premise solution. This difference brings technical and sales approach challenges that TIBCO will have to effectively resolve. The assimilation of Mashery into TIBCO will take some time and, if effective, customers will reap its benefits in the long run.
If I were a legacy (pre-acquisition) TIBCO customer, I’d be concerned about the future of TIBCO and now Mashery; they may eventually be sold to the best bidder or go the IPO route. This uncertainty would increase my risk, especially in the long run. And if I were a new customer considering to acquire an API Management solution now, I would keep TIBCO off my list until the dust settles.
For the foreseeable future, TIBCO has two overlapping API Management products, TIBCO API Exchange and TIBCO Mashery. This will probably cause confusion in their customer base, like when TIBCO replaced ciServer with Rendezvous, or IntegrationManager with BusinessWorks, or iProcess with ActiveMatrix BPM, all the while providing little or no migration support. As of today, TIBCO has not mentioned anything about license migration from API Exchange to Mashery and given their past history, I would not be surprised if an API Exchange customer is obligated to re-purchase Mashery for their API Management solution. Neither has TIBCO mentioned anything about migration tooling to move API Exchange assets to Mashery. Will it be a full rewrite?
Compare this to IBM API Management, which has been built organically and will not be replaced with an acquisition. Customers can count on IBM’s continued investment and support in IBM API Management. Its continuous development, on-premise, hosted, SaaS, PureApplication System pattern, Bluemix Shared, Dedicated and Local versions attest to this. IBM API Management already has a feature rich Developers’ Portal, which includes social capabilities as well as a Enterprise Content Management System. It can also discover APIs from a variety of non-IBM and IBM products and its gateway leverages IBM DataPower, the industry leading security & integration gateway for a range of workloads, with 2200+ customers over 10 years.
If you’re a new customer considering an API Management solution, you don’t have to wait for TIBCO to merge their two API Management products, you can start using IBM’s purpose-built and only API Management solution today. And if you are a TIBCO customer stuck with API Exchange having to re-implement your solution on a different API Management platform, I invite you to try IBM API Management as a replacement.
Start your free 30 day trial of IBM API Management today by clicking here and begin managing and sharing APIs right away using IBM API Management on Cloud (SaaS). To view our tutorials and other helpful videos click here. For more information on all IBM API Management offerings including on Cloud and on-premise, click here.
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