Cannibalization. You don’t get to see that very often unless something strange has happened. No, I’m not talking about the act of eating the flesh of the same species. Instead I’m referring to where a vendor eats into its own sales by promoting one of its products ahead of another in the same market. It is highly unusual for a vendor to be willing to sacrifice sales of one product line to increase another. In my experience these things usually happen through some form of mistake or oversight in planning. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case with TIBCO’s recent announcement of the TIBCO Messaging Appliance.
As we suggested in our report The High-Performance Messaging Arms Race, we thought that the introduction of hardware into this market would have an impact. And that certainly appears to have been the case. In light of TIBCO’s new product introduction I’m in the process of updating the REPAMA SAS on High Performance Messaging (where we looked at the marketing strategies of 29West’s LBM, IBM’s LLM and Solace Systems’ Content Router). As regular readers will recall, one of the key elements of the reverse-engineered positioning statement that we use with the REPAMA methodology, is the UNLIKE section.
UNLIKE (primary competitor or alternative)
This element of the positioning statement is usually used to aim the full power of the vendor’s USP at a specific competitor. However, in my early findings for the TIBCO, the UNLIKE element for TIBCO’s Messaging Appliance appears to be:
UNLIKE TIBCO Rendezvous
That’s right. TIBCO sees the Messaging Appliance’s primary alternative as TIBCO Rendezvous. Which begs the questions; why aim the full power of this new product at an incredibly successful existing product? Why is TIBCO happy to cannibalize sales of Rendezvous for the benefit of the Messaging Appliance? It appears that the answer could be three-fold.
- TIBCO no longer believes in the proposition for Rendezvous (in software).
- Extreme competition exists from other software vendors that are able to simply replace Rendezvous and perform far better.
- As referenced here in SDTimes, TIBCO sees the advantages of blurring the CapEx/OpEx boundaries through the love that keeps on giving – the annual lease.
So whilst self-cannibalization of sales is usually the by-product of poor planning, here it appears to be TIBCO’s only choice. Either way it’s a risky strategy and represents a big opportunity for software vendors that are able to do what Rendezvous does (IBM, 29West, etc.) and is also a pat on the back for Solace Systems – who had more than a little hand in the production of TIBCO’s Messaging Appliance.
P.S. Apologies for the image at the top but I usually like to select an image that matches the blog subject. But having image Google’d “cannibalism”, I just couldn’t use any of the images!