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Documentum co-founder says OpenText sale 'will hurt customers'

John Newton claims customers will lose out after $1.62bn acquisition

Executives in a business meeting

OpenText's purchase of Documentum will lead to problems for customers, according to the co-founder of the data storage and retrieval firm.

Dell yesterday confirmed it will sell Documentum, and the rest of its Enterprise Content Division, to OpenText in a $1.62 billion deal. Dell inherited the division as part of its purchase of EMC, which bought Documentum in the 1990s.

OpenText hopes the acquisition of the division will increase its vertical offerings in financial services, energy and engineering.

However, Documentum co-founder John Newton today said he has misgivings about the deal, and pointed to potential problems for customers.

"This news is another classic case of two legacy vendors coming together, but it does nothing to advance innovation," Newton, who left the company in 2001, said. "Furthermore, it begs a lot of conjecture about what OpenText will do with yet another ECM (enterprise content management) product, where there is no precedent of them being able to integrate any of their previously acquired products."

He claimed customers of both OpenText and Documentum now face "overlapping product sets and nothing but complexity in their future".

Newton added: "I encourage their customers to try and embrace open ECM and BPM (business process management) platforms that provide a path forward into the future, where companies innovate faster together."

However, OpenText believes the acquisition, which should close within four months, will deepen its portfolio of ECM and Information Life Cycle Management.

CEO Mark Barrenechea said: "This acquisition further strengthens OpenText as a leader in Enterprise Information Management, enabling customers to capture their Digital future and transform into information-based businesses. We are very excited about the opportunities which ECD and Documentum bring, and I look forward to welcoming our new customers, employees, and partners to OpenText." 

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