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AlcaLu Sells Off Its API Repository

Sarah Thomas

Alcatel-Lucent has sold ProgrammableWeb, the online repository of application programming interfaces (APIs) it acquired in 2010, to enterprise app integrator MuleSoft, the company confirmed on Wednesday.

Alcatel-Lucent acquired ProgrammableWeb to build up its Apps Enablement strategy with Laura Merling, senior VP of application enablement, at the helm. Merling left AlcaLu for AT&T in December, and today's sale sheds the more than 13,000 Web APIs owned through ProgrammableWeb. (See AlcaLu Buys Some API Smarts andAlcatel-Lucent Puts its APIs to Work.)

The telecoms vendor has been making noise about APIs since 2009, positioning itself as the intermediary between operators and developers, helping to create tightly integrated apps that leverage the power of the network. That noise has quieted to a dull roar, however, as its developer ecosystem struggled to take off, just as the wireless operators have been slow-moving in exposing their APIs to developers.

Alcatel-Lucent isn't abandoning its Apps Enablement vision but rather sold off ProgrammableWeb to sharpen the strategy, a spokesman writes in an email to Light Reading. He says that the 2010 acquisition was important in building telco acceptance in the developer community and vice versa, but now its service provider customers "prefer that we focus on exposing APIs directly on the platforms we build" and ensure its software and hardware offerings are technology agnostic.

"We've institutionalized our AE vision by now embedding APIs into the platforms we build," he says. Some examples include the recently announced software defined networking platform from Nuage Networks, which draws on AlcaLu's CloudBand API for network function virtualization (NFV), new conversation APIs for IMS, mobile data charging, and its motive customer experience APIs.

In announcing the acquisition on its blog, ProgrammableWeb Executive Editor Adam DuVander writes that his company and MuleSoft share the belief that the Web is a platform and APIs connect it to "an expanding array of devices." Mulesoft, as an open-source integrator, helps facilitate those connections. It will run ProgrammableWeb as a standalone business where it will maintain its independent voice, DuVander says.

This is the latest merger in the hot API management space this month. Earlier this week, CA Technologies acquired API management vendor Layer 7, and Intel bought Mashery for its API smarts on April 17.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Lightning
5/13/2013 | 8:26:16 PM
re: AlcaLu Sells Off Its API Repository
Easy decision. This was a non-strategic foray to get their toe in the water of the "app" and "api" market.
User Rank: Light Beer
4/26/2013 | 6:50:38 PM
re: AlcaLu Sells Off Its API Repository
It's a bad enough vice buying something you don't need and selling it. The "worser vice" is pretending it adds to your strategy.

It's like banking a three-point shot from the wing. "I meant to do that." "Uh-huh."

User Rank: Light Sabre
4/25/2013 | 2:47:40 PM
re: AlcaLu Sells Off Its API Repository
Successful? Survey says no!
Ray Le Maistre
Ray Le Maistre,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/25/2013 | 8:20:56 AM
re: AlcaLu Sells Off Its API Repository
"building telco acceptance in the developer community and vice versa" -- anyone have any thoughts on how successful that was?
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
4/24/2013 | 9:44:45 PM
re: AlcaLu Sells Off Its API Repository
Gotta admit, this looks like AlcaLu's way of admitting (or not actually admitting) that maybe it shouldn't have bought ProgrammableWeb in the first place...
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