A shiver of delight ran though the ranks of small software companies last week at the news of the failure of the justice department’s case against the Oracle acquisition of Peoplesoft. Great! Maybe we’ll get bought!!
But the willing virgins of Castle Anthrax have always been available. It is the lack of suitors that is driving the poor virgins to distraction.
It is the companies of a certain age and revenue that have the most to think about. Veritas, who proudly notes that they are installed in 99% of the F500 (translation: buy S&P500 index funds instead of our stock!), may be most vulnerable. Trading near its 52 week low, with a strong franchise in the low-growth backup market, one has to wonder why they aren’t simply a division of a larger company that could amortize their expensive sales and marketing across a larger base.
This question elides into the other debate of “Does IT matter?” Has IT and it attendent capitalist phalanx hit the Old Economy wall? On the corporate side the answer has to be a qualified yes. Just how much more can corporations spend on IT as a percentage of revenue? Not much more if the CFO has anything to say about it. The consumer side of IT is an open question, as there appears to be no limit on our desire to be entertained.
If this is broadly correct let the consolidation begin, the entrepreneurs find new fields to plow and the unhappy virgins of Castle Anthrax continue to pine away.