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

[ 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.