When you think of Zurich, what comes to mind? Banking "gnomes" scurrying to service the secret bank accounts of international criminals? Or perhaps milk chocolate that's to die for?

Okay. Now scrap all that. Instead, think of a new, aggressive, technically sophisticated high-tech company that's taking on Sonic Software and Fiorano Software in the JMS space, and making a name for itself in the JMS-based mobile middleware market. That's Softwired.

"We are pretty much the only pure JMS play in the heart of Europe," says the company's CEO, Henry Wild, Ph.D. He says this, ironically, in an Australian accent--evidence of Softwired's being a very multi multinational company. It is based in Switzerland, just opened offices in Chicago and does business in American, Europe and Asia.

"The company got its start in 1997 when the current CTO, Dr. Silvano Maffeis, joined what was then a consulting firm," Wild notes. Maffeis had brought with him iBus, a distributed IP multicast JMS middleware platform. The company says iBus is high-speed and server-free, uses the JMS API and supports IP multicast. The company founders took one look at it and decided their consulting days were through.

Since '97, the company has been offering iBus in a number of forms and in direct competition with the likes of Sonic and Fiorano. It says, in fact, that its customers and partners include such big names as eBay, UBS, the U.S. Air Force, Tallán, Xerox, Northrop Grumman and LivePerson.

iBus's attractiveness, says Wild, lies not in the fact that it is just another JMS platform. Rather, he says, iBus is an extremely portable creature. "The need we saw was to be able to provide a middleware platform that transcended the Internet," he says. "[One] that would be able to support the extranet and mobile devices."

It's in mobile that Softwired really sees its future. In an age when cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) and the ever-growing number of other WAP-enabled devices are all trying to link to the wireless Web, the company thinks iBus will be a natural.

"We think wireless is coming," Wild says. "And with it, the applications that will need iBus." He claims his company is the only one that can really provide mobile JMS at the moment. "There are people who are promising to do it," he says. "But no one actually has product."


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