Latest Happenings in and Around UniForum
UniForum and The Open Group Work Together
Increased unity and cooperation were one of the centerpieces of UniForum
'96, and this alliance is a shining example of it.
By Steve Liebes
At UniForum '96, the long-awaited (and widely rumored) announcement
was made that OSF and X/Open have created a partnership as The Open Group.
Also announced at this meeting was that The Open Group and the UniForum
Association are forming an alliance, in which UniForum extends general association
memberships to all members of the Open Group Customer Council (OGCC). With
that announcement, approximately 235 corporations have become an integral
part of our burgeoning association.
In a press release issued the same day, Peter Shaw, vice president of marketing
and sales at OSF, said, "We are extremely enthusiastic about this announcement
that will offer the customer members of The Open Group the significant added
benefit of membership in the UniForum Association. This closer collaboration
among industry groups accomplishes a fundamental goal of The Open Group
to strengthen the ties among end users and the various industry consortia
supporting the open systems environment."
Richard Jaross, UniForum's executive director, added, "It is the intent
of UniForum and The Open Group to work closely together and to explore other
areas where our combined talents and strengths can be brought to bear for
the benefit of end users and vendors throughout the industry." UniForum
membership benefits, now extended to individuals at companies of the OGCC,
include voting privileges in UniForum Board of Directors elections; qualification
to serve on UniForum committees; and receipt of UniForum's IT Solutions;
our newsletter, UniNews; and the annual Open Systems Products
It is true that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Strengthened
as it now is by The Open Group membership merger, the UniForum Association
must be viewed as the Who's Who of the industry, with our collection
of corporate sponsors and end-user members in addition to the general members
who make up the balance of a prestigious cast. Effective--curiously enough
on this past Valentine's Day--as a result of lengthy dialogue and a long
courtship, the recent addition of the OSF and X/Open user member rosters
bolsters UniForum's membership in numbers and--more importantly--technological
strength. The combined associations can only be perceived as a bastion of
strength and education for the open systems industry.
Consolidation in Open Systems
As of this writing, we have just closed UniForum '96, and we witnessed
many corporate mergers, such as NetManage taking on AGE and Pure Software
absorbing both Performix and QualTrack. These mergers within our Unix community
made sound business sense. Publicly or privately held, it makes no difference
as these once small businesses grow into larger machines, expanding and
sometimes stumbling as corporate philosophies attempt to create unity from
two or more entities.
During the UniForum show, a trade journalist asked me, "What has been
the most memorable business phenomenon of the last 10 years?" I responded
that this will be remembered as the decade of the merger and the acquisition.
We have witnessed the leveraged buy-outs of so many different organizations--RJR
by KKR, NCR by AT&T, Lotus and Tivoli by IBM and numerous others. I
believe that economists will view the 1980s and 1990s in much the same way.
Corporations are choosing to (or have no other choice than to) join forces
to build a stronger balance sheet and provide greater strength to stockholders.
Whether by purchase or takeover, companies have come together, with the
result of changing the complexion of our industry.
Amid all this high-profile activity, two giants were quietly courting one
another. The joining of OSF and X/Open is an alliance of tremendous significance.
OSF delivers technology innovations in all areas of open systems, including
interoperability, scalability, portability and usability. X/Open is dedicated
to the identification, agreement and wide-scale adoption of information
technology standards that reduce incompatibility and help users realize
the benefits of open information systems. Technologies and standards are
a winning combination.
I am pleased to welcome every one of our new members into the UniForum family.
Look for more information about our new Corporate End-User members in upcoming