LINZ keeps eye on Informix takeover

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is adopting a wait-and-see approach to the news that the company behind its Landonline database software, Informix, has been bought outright by IBM, a move that could lead to the phasing out of Informix software.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is adopting a wait-and-see approach to the news that the company behind its Landonline database software, Informix, has been bought outright by IBM, a move that could lead to the phasing out of Informix software.

“It’s too early to tell what the impact will be at this stage,” says a LINZ spokesman. “At the moment it is business as usual, and the impact is not likely to be felt until later this year.”

The $US1 billion takeover could have implications for the specialised “blades” — software Informix developed for the $150 million Landonline system — versions of which LINZ hopes to sell on to overseas surveyors. Landonline project director Terry Jackson says at this stage it is too early to tell how the change of hands will affect that potential project. “Obviously we are watching that space very closely,” he says.

However, IBM manufactures its own flagship database software, DB2, which remains a major rival to the Informix product. IBM’s position in the market, the other main player being Oracle, is therefore strengthened significantly by this purchase, and IBM says in a public statement that it intends to “integrate selected Informix technology into future versions of the DB2 Universal Database”. This could eventually spell the end of Informix as a standalone product.

IBM’s takeover of Informix means the latter will be renamed Ascential Software, a brand that was, up until the sale, just one branch of Informix. Reports indicate Ascential will become a separate company in alliance with IBM, while the Informix database software operations will gradually be subsumed into IBM.

IBM New Zealand says it expects to retain the local Informix staff. Informix employs 2500 people worldwide.

Landonline will be an online digital repository of this country’s land-survey records. Computerworld reported last month that LINZ intends to implement the second phase of Landonline’s development by 2002. This second phase would allow appropriate users to add information about land titles and surveys online.

LINZ is the policy and regulatory arm of what was the former Department of Survey and Land Information.

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