Open Text buys Vignette – What it means to customers

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Open Text logoEarlier this month Canadian Enterprise Content Management-vendor Open Text announced their intention to acquire the ailing Texas-based Web CMS vendor Vignette. As one of the granddaddies of Web CMS, Vignette peaked during the .com years and did make a few acquisitions. Despite aggressive and creative marketing including a recent re-positioning as a Web Experience Management vendor (somewhat similar to the successful repositioning of FatWire), Vignette has failed to become profitable for years and have seen revenue shrink continuously. A pending acquisition has been rumoured for a while.

Here’s what the news means to customers:

A series of questions remain unanswered. Interestingly, as of today many customers have still not heard anything from Vignette or Open Text. Vignette recently distributed an e-mail announcing a that their planned Analyst Day was postponed until further notice. The e-mail ended like this:

Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions (that do not relate to the acquisition)

Seth Gottlieb, open source CMS expert, has my favourite quote about the acquisition:

Open Text: Where declining technology goes to die

If any strategic thinking was behind this acquisition, I suspect it was based around shareholder value. I can’t find any value for customers. Can you?

Vignette TombstonePhoto credit Jon Marks. See his analysis and detailed look at the depressing numbers in his posting on Will Vignette Give Open Text Food Poisoning?

If you are interested in other perspectives, here’s more detailed coverage and speculation from several industry analysts:

Janus Boye

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