A sure sign of the maturity of any new market is consolidation. Big players look to get bigger, while innovators look to cash in on what they’ve created. We’re starting to see some of that activity in SharePoint with the recent announcement of a couple of acquisitions.

At TechEd in New Orleans this week, SharePoint management software provider Idera said it has acquired iDevFactory, which makes security management software for SharePoint. And last week, Axceler said it would purchase echoTechnology, which makes software for SharePoint migration. (Axceler also announced ControlPoint 4.0 for administration, as well as Davinci Migrator for SharePoint 2010, which is expected out later this summer.)

Both Axceler and Idera focus on the administration of SharePoint installations, and both expect the additional technologies they pick up will give them bigger pieces of the market. Garry Smith, former CEO of echoTechnology and now general manager of echo products at Axceler, said, “Together, we are uniquely positioned to help organizations transition to SharePoint 2010 with best-of-breed solutions for migration and administration.”

Ahh… this reminds me of the early days of the Java ecosystem, when people sought to avoid being locked in to one vendor, allowing a slew of companies to emerge with “best-of-breed” solutions for middleware, security, development and more. Today, of course, many of those companies were purchased by the real big companies still standing—HP, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. Much of the innovation in the Java space now occurs in the open-source world.

It will be interesting to see how the SharePoint market evolves. It’s a different beast than Java, of course. Microsoft owns the software and will continue to map out its future course. That will force the “best-of-breed” third-party providers to be even more innovative as SharePoint matures and Microsoft builds much of the add-in technology right into SharePoint.

— David