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The Top 25 Newsmakers of 2006 – Number 14: Open Text John Shackleton

The long-time Open Text executive outbid a competitor to get Hummingbird, but will the merger fly

Open Text Corp.’s recent acquisition of fellow Ontario enterprise content management software maker Hummingbird Ltd. has one interesting side note: The country is now home to one of the largest independent ECM companies in the world.

The bad news is its competitors include IBM (which bought FileNet earlier in the year) and EMC (which owns Documentum), while Microsoft and Oracle are nudging into the market.

The purchase is a coup for Open Text CEO John Shackleton, although he had to spend US$489 million outbidding Symphony Technology Group for it.

Exactly how the two companies’ partner programs will be dealt with isn’t clear. Hummingbird has perhaps a dozen Canadian integrators and ISVs, while Open Text has seven. In an October letter the company said the channel is core to its strategy, and promised to integrate a renamed Hummingbird Enterprise into Open Text’s LiveLink line.

Shackleton is hoping Hummingbird will boost his bottom line, but note Open Text’s revenues alone for fiscal 2006 was $409 million, compared to $414 million in 2005. Still, it’s nice Canada is No. 1 in at least one IT category.