In a world without standards, market share is everything.
To that end, Marimba Inc. made its case as the de facto standard in the "push" technology business last week with a series of partnership announcements at the Web '97 trade show in San Francisco.
"This is about managing applications via the Internet," said Kim Polese, CEO of Marimba. "That's what Marimba does."
Marimba formally announced partnerships with some of the largest names in the computer industry, including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Lotus, and Oracle, which will all be using Marimba Castanet technology in their products.
Castanet allows for the creation of "channels" over which information or applications can be pushed to users' desktops.
IBM intends to use Castanet initially to support its 18,000 independent developers worldwide, and the company is expected to extend its relationship with Marimba this year.
Oracle is using Marimba to push information directly from its Universal Server Database to users' desktops.
Marimba also announced partnerships with two large Japanese companies, Hitachi and Itochu/CTC, to distribute and use Castanet.
In addition, Marimba said tit will integrate its publishing tools with those of a number of leading software tools manufacturers, including Symantec, Borland, Macromedia, and Net-It Now, to allow instant publishing of Castanet channel content from those tools.
"Before, they had to save the application and then use the publishing tool," said Rob Currie, director of engineering at Marimba. "Now it's just code, compile, and publish."
Marimba's efforts to demonstrate its universal appeal - with tools vendors, content providers, and large corporate partners - is key for Marimba or any other push technology vendor, according to analysts.
"You do need to have a huge critical mass, or no one will let your channels through their firewall," says Ira Machefsky, an industry analyst with the Giga Information Group, in California.
"It appears to me that Marimba is trying to be the Netscape of the push market by being everything to everybody," Machefsky says.
Machefsky says Marimba's strategy to offer everything from content push to applications deployment and management makes it hard to get a handle on the company.
"They are middleware, applications, and both," Machefsky says.
Marimba Inc., in Palo Alto, California, can be reached at http://www.marimba.com.