Business-software specialist TIBCO Software (NASDAQ:TIBX) wants to be the Switzerland in its sector. The company just reported a great fourth quarter -- and explained that the opportunities ahead hinge on TIBCO's independence from a morass of traditional rivalries.

CEO Vivek Ranadive said that the company's "role as a neutral software infrastructure provider is increasingly valuable, and along with our continual innovation, positions us well for the future." He's talking about the friction a CIO might run into when trying to integrate a business intelligence platform from SAP AG (NYSE:SAP) with reporting tools from IBM (NYSE:IBM) and middleware from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) or BEA Systems (NASDAQ:BEAS). TIBCO's platform-agnostic architectures fit well with management and sales teams long used to working with others, and the company can be the glue that ties together a melange of business-critical software tools.

The big guns are shooting for each others' traditional strengths, trying to steal some business in a crowded marketplace. "And people view us as the lesser of two evils," Ranadive said. "Kind of the neutral party by which they can reach out into their competitors' environment. Customers are increasingly gravitating to our neutral Switzerland-like platform."

To lure those customers, the company is hiring sales reps with backgrounds at firms like Oracle or BEA. "We are actually getting a lot of resumes from all those companies," said Ranadive.

All of this is driving acceleration in TIBCO's business. The company closed 139 deals worth $100,000 or more in this quarter, and 17 above the million-dollar mark. The list of new customers included big names like Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A), BP (NYSE:BP), and two of the biggest telecoms in Scandinavia.

If TIBCO keeps up this performance level, it might lose the "neutrality" angle sooner rather than later. We know how acquisition-happy Oracle can be, and IBM has been talking about looking for new opportunities. This tasty morsel comes with a very affordable $1.3 billion enterprise value, is both profitable and cash-flow positive today, and has a forward P/E around 15. Needless to say, this company has a poison pill provision for good reason.

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