BaaS: It's a crowded (and young) market

It may be tempting to jump in quickly, but be careful.

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When Forrester's Michael Facemire set out to write a report on back-end as a service, published in August 2012, he interviewed 13 companies. "Since then I've found out about nearly 40 companies that call themselves BaaS," he says.

BaaS vendors offer services aimed at making it quick, easy and inexpensive for developers to add common functions such as messaging to their mobile apps, freeing them up to focus on the functions that are important to the business. Companies will need to choose their provider carefully, because consolidation is certain, says Facemire.

[This story accompanies a more in-depth look at BaaS and how it works, "Speed up mobile app dev with back-end as a service."]

Already, some merger and acquisition activity is happening. Appcelerator acquired Cocoafish, Apigee bought Usergrid and Flurry scooped up Trestle.

That's likely just the start. "My theory is that the infrastructure players -- Amazon, Rackspace, SunGard -- the folks providing IaaS, will be the major acquirers for BaaS," says Marc Weil, founder and CTO of Cloudmine, a BaaS provider.

Microsoft has already signaled interest in the space by rolling out mobile BaaS tools in Azure, its cloud platform.

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