YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Siebel Pact Would Boost Microsoft's .Net

October 21, 2002|From Bloomberg News

Siebel Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are expected to announce an alliance today that may benefit Microsoft's .Net strategy for the sharing of data between computers, hand-held devices and cell phones, analysts said.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Siebel Chief Executive Tom Siebel will deliver keynote speeches at Siebel's user conference in Los Angeles.

Microsoft is the world's largest software maker, and Siebel is the world's largest maker of software to track sales and automate customer service.

Siebel is expected to say that it will make its software programs run on the .Net system, which competes with software based on the Java programming language developed by Sun Microsystems Inc., analysts said.

Siebel's endorsement of .Net, much of which still hasn't been introduced, would help Microsoft as it tries to persuade large companies to run more of their business programs on Microsoft software, the analysts said.

"The implications of this announcement are clearly positive to Microsoft, who benefits from the endorsement of its enterprise platform by a tier 1 application vendor," Credit Suisse First Boston analysts George Gilbert and Brent Thill wrote in a note to clients last week.

Microsoft probably will work with Siebel on its Universal Application Network initiative, which is designed to reduce the time it takes to link different software programs, U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray analyst Tad Piper wrote in a note to clients.

Siebel is trying to expand into new markets to make up for flagging demand for its customer-service software.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company Thursday reported its first quarterly loss in four years. It also said its sales declined 18%.

Siebel spokeswoman Stacey Wueste and Microsoft spokesman Sean Sundwall declined to comment.

Investors and analysts had speculated that Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft would buy a stake in Siebel or purchase the company outright.

Tom Siebel told analysts Thursday that Microsoft isn't planning to buy Siebel or acquire a stake.

Microsoft shares, which have fallen 20% this year, rose $2.38 to close at $53.15 Friday in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

Shares of Siebel fell $1.10, or 15%, to $6.20 Friday, also on Nasdaq. They have fallen 78% this year.

Los Angeles Times Articles