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AS/400 Technology Showcase: Do You Believe in Magic?

Apr 05, 2000, 21:43 (0 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Katharine Hanley for this link. ]

[Permission to Reprint from AS/400 Technology Showcase, March 2000]

A little more than a year ago, Linux International Board Member Magic Software Enterprises, www.magic-sw.com/linux, was invited to join IBM's Application Development Tools Network for the AS/400. In a letter from IBM welcoming Magic Software as a charter member of the network, Doug Fulmer wrote, "In my opinion, the technology developed by Magic in 1996 in close cooperation with IBM's Rochester Labs achieves the highest levels of product quality for the AS/400." Fulmer, worldwide segment manager, AS/400 Application Development Tools & Middleware, adds that IBM is committed to working with Magic on an ongoing basis to help market Magic's AS/400 related products.

"We rank the different companies that we work with in terms of their adherence to the e-business framework," said John Quarantello, IBM's worldwide Java and WebSphere segment manager. "One is the lowest ranking and four is the highest ranking. Magic has achieved a four-level of certification."

Not a company to rest on its laurels, Magic Software continued building momentum through 1999 and into 2000. While its products garnered significant recognition and support, the company also made waves on Wall Street. It was ranked number 3 on MSN MoneyCentral's 1999 list of top small-capitalization stocks, which, according to MSN, "came from companies that have turned on a dime and radically reinvented themselves, a characteristic of growth stocks."

There's no doubt that Magic Software is a rising IT-industry star; its movement in the AS/400, e-business and stock market arenas is a work in progress. The company is well known in AS/400 circles for its Magic/400 product, a solution that lets users integrate Web functionality into their organizations' business applications without writing new applications or rewriting existing ones.

Last year, Magic Software launched its "eCommerce -- We Deliver" solutions strategy and delivered e Merchant, an e-commerce product designed for businesses with large inventories, high volumes of transactions, and significant repeat business from regular customers. Since its introduction, Magic eMerchant has gained significant respect. For example, it's been installed in IBM's AS/400 Support Center in Ehningen, Germany. According to Thomas Polster, the man responsible for IBM's AS/400 e-business solutions in Central Europe, "they are very attractive technologically and, above all, they run natively on the AS/400."

NoRegrets, www.noregrets.com.au, an Australian retailer of intimate apparel and accessories, is another example of Magic eMerchant implementation. In less than four months and in time for last year's holiday shopping season, Magic's product gave NoRegrets a Web site fully capable of handling e-business transactions in an efficient and timely manner.

The NoRegrets site was a first for Australia, according to Alister Norwood, managing director of the company, who adds that with eMerchant, "we now have a technical advantage not available elsewhere."

Although not excessively aggressive in the merger market, late last year Magic Software announced its intent to acquire a majority interest in Caswell Logistics BV, which provides supply chain, logistical, administration and accounting software in the Netherlands. It also acquired a 51 percent interest in its Hungarian distributor, Onyx Software Enterprises Ltd., a move designed to help increase Magic's sales in the Central European and Russian markets and bolster its presence in Hungary.

While Magic may appear to play conservatively in the acquisitions arena, it's exhibiting no fear in facing the IT industry's well-publicized challenge -- Linux. The company revealed last December that it is porting its Enterprise Edition v.8 development environment to the Linux platform. Three months earlier, Magic had announced Linux Enterprise Server v.8.3, which enables existing Magic applications developed on non-Linux platforms to be ported to Linux. The new offering will give developers the ability to build applications directly on the Linux platform.

Enterprise Edition v.8 received the 1998 DBMS MagazineReaders' Choice Award for top application development tool.

"Magic will provide one of the first and most productive development environments for creating Linux-based e-commerce and other enterprise-level applications," said David Leichner, Magic's vice president of worldwide marketing. He added that Magic's Linux integration should help developers deliver the solutions necessary for Linux to achieve widescale commercial acceptance.

According to Evans Marketing Services, the ability to develop enterprise-level e-commerce solutions natively on Linux should be received favorably by the more than 39 percent of developers who say they will build applications for the operating system in 2000.

Magic Software interviewed Jon "Maddog" Hall, executive director of Linux International. In the interview, Hall quotes these stats: "Today, there are about 190 million Microsoft operating systems in the world. There are 9 million UNIX operating systems and 3 million BSD systems, 2 million proprietary systems, such as AS/400, VMS, etc. and about 21 million Linux systems. Now there are 5.6 billion people in the world today. That leaves 5.4 billion people who have not yet selected their operating system."

Think about it.

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