Vignette Corporation

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Vignette Corporation
Subsidiary of OpenText
Industry content management, portal, collaboration, document management, and records management
Founded 1995, Sigma Partners
Headquarters Austin, Texas (registered)
Key people
Mike Aviles, Chief Executive Officer
Number of employees
about 670 (2008)

Vignette Corporation was a company headquartered in Austin, Texas that offered a suite of content management, portal, collaboration, document management, and records management software. Founded in 1995,[1] Vignette was bought by Open Text Corporation in 2009.[2][3]


Targeted at the enterprise market, Vignette offered products under the name StoryServer that allowed non-technical users to create, edit and track content through workflows and publish it on the web. Vignette held more than 70 U.S. patents[4] and provided integration for enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and legacy systems, supporting Java EE and Microsoft .NET.

Many large websites ran Vignette's StoryServer, including CNET,[5] UnitedHealth Group, Disney, Wachovia, Martha Stewart, Fox News Digital, National Geographic, MetLife and BSkyB. Vignette provided the technical platform for the 2004 Summer Olympics website. In 2008, NASA credited Vignette Portal as a "key tool the team uses in-house to keep the content organized."[6]


In November 1995 Ross Garber and Neil Webber started Vignette with the goal of making web publishing easier and more personalized.[1] The company's seed round investors were Austin Ventures and Sigma Partners. In a second round, Vignette secured $10 million of venture funding in July 1997[7] and $14 million in May 1998.[8]

Vignette's first product was called StoryBuilder and handled large-scale content management workflow. This product was announced but never released on its own. During the initial StoryBuilder development, Vignette partnered with CNET, which had developed its own technology called PRISM that allowed for the creation and delivery of large, database-driven websites. CNET, which wanted a third party to commercialize the product, decided to transfer the technology to Vignette, and invested $500,000, for a 33% stake in Vignette. Vignette rapidly developed the technology into a product called StoryServer, which was released in January 1997. StoryBuilder was later merged into the StoryServer product, and was released in September 1997.[9][10]

In the 1990s, Vignette's integrated development environment and application programming interface offered an alternative to conventional Common Gateway Interface/vi/Perl web development.

The number of the company's customers rose from 130 in 1998[10] to 700 in 2000.[1]

Vignette was an early adopter of XML. StoryServer 4, launched in July 1998, featured strong support of the technology.[11] In January 1998, Vignette and Firefly Networks proposed the XML based Information and Content Exchange (ICE) protocol for content syndication[12] and submitted the specification to the World Wide Web Consortium standards body on 26 Oct 1998.[13] Vignette became the primary ICE vendor[14] through Vignette Syndication Server, released on February 22, 1999.[15]

In June 1998, Garber hired Greg Peters to succeed him as chief executive officer, and Garber became chairman of the board. Garber left the company in 1999, and Webber retired in early 2000.

Vignette's initial public offering (IPO) took place on February 19, 1999. On the first day of trading, the company's stock more than doubled from $19 to $42.69 per share.[16] By June 2000, Vignette's stock had risen more than 1,500%, to $300, giving the company a market capitalization of nearly $9 billion.[1] Pre IPO demand for the company was high, reflected by a 2 for 1 split the day before IPO Feb 18, 1999 (citation needed). Months later shareholders enjoyed an additional 2-for-1 [17] and 3-for-1 [18] splits.

The company made several acquisitions, including e-business application vendor OnDisplay for $1.4 billion in 2000,[19] data mining and personalization application vendor DataSage for $606 million,[20] enterprise portal software vendor Epicentric for $32 million in 2002,[21] CMS vendor Intraspect for $20 million in 2003,[22] Tower Technology, an Australian-based provider of enterprise document and records management software, in 2004 for $125 million,[23] and Vidavee, a SaaS-based Web video publishing company in 2008.[24]

In 2008 Vignette suffered a marked decrease in gross profit and net income (Q2 2008 vs. Q2 2007).[25][26] The company reported a loss of a little over $863,000 in Q2 of 2008, compared to a net gain of $4 million in Q2 of 2007.[25][26] However, the company had no debt and approximately $150 million in cash. Vignette launched a dozen products in 2008 but needed to prove the value of these products by producing license revenue.[25][26]

On May 6, 2009, Open Text Corporation announced its intention to buy Vignette for $310 million[2] and completed the acquisition on July 21, 2009.[3]


Vignette was criticized for being very expensive. Traditionally Vignette aimed at the high end of the market with the typical deployment costing over $250,000.[27] Newer offerings (i.e. Video, Recommendations and Social) were priced well under $100,000.

The user interfaces of Vignette's products were considered to be complicated, non-intuitive and hard to learn.[28] Later product versions were aimed at addressing these criticisms.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Ante, Spencer E. (2000-06-05). "Making the Web Go: Sites hum with Vignette's software, which helps publish and manage Net content". Business Week. Archived from the original on October 26, 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b "Vignette to become part of Open Text in $310M deal". Austin Business Journal. 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  3. ^ a b "Open Text Completes Vignette Acquisition". Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  4. ^ U.S. Patent Office[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Gorman, Trisha (1997-10-14). "How CNET does it". Archived from the original on August 29, 2000. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  6. ^ McLaughlin, Laurianne (May 22, 2008). "NASA Phoenix Mission to Mars: An Out-Of-This-World Content Management Challenge". CIO Magazine. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  7. ^ Thomas, Owen (1997-07-28). "Vignette lands $10 million in second round". Red Herring Online. Archived from the original on October 5, 1999. Retrieved 2014-09-07. 
  8. ^ Thomas, Owen (1998-05-08). "Vignette buys RandomNoise". Red Herring Online. Archived from the original on October 5, 1999. Retrieved 2014-09-07. 
  9. ^ Festa, Paul (September 16, 1997). "Vignette updates StoryServer platform". CNET News. 
  10. ^ a b Malik, Om (October 14, 1998). "Vignette is the story". Forbes. Archived from the original on June 18, 2001. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  11. ^ Dudrow, Andrea (1998-07-09). "Vignette to ship latest StoryServer". MacWeek. Archived from the original on January 11, 2000. Retrieved 2014-09-07. 
  12. ^ Clark, Tim (1998-01-29). "Software to help Net stores". Archived from the original on February 2, 1999. Retrieved 2014-09-07. 
  13. ^ Webber, Neil; Conlet O'Connell; Bruce Hunt; Rick Levine; Laird Popkin; Gord Larose (1998-10-26). The Information and Content Exchange (ICE) Format and Protocol. W3C. Retrieved 2014-09-07. 
  14. ^ The XML Revolution for Commercial Publishing. Gartner Group. 1999-10-26. Archived from the original on January 12, 2001. Retrieved 2014-09-08. 
  15. ^ "Vignette Ships Vignette Syndication Server(TM) Helping Online Businesses Efficiently Broaden Customer Reach". PR Newswire. Austin, TX. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2014-09-09. [dead link]
  16. ^ Thomas, Owen (1999-02-19). "Vignette serves up healthy first day". Red Herring Online. Archived from the original on May 5, 1999. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  17. ^ "Vignette splits stock 2 for 1 The Internet software maker's board declares a 2-for-1 stock split to take place November 15". 
  19. ^ Sanborn, Stephanie (May 22, 2000). "Vignette to acquire OnDisplay". InfoWorld. Archived from the original on November 2, 2004. Retrieved July 25, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Vignette Sets Deal to Buy DataSage For $606.4 Million, Lifting Shares". Wall Street Journal. Jan 11, 2000. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  21. ^ Wagner, Jim (October 29, 2002). "Vignette Buys Epicentric for $32 Million". Internet News. 
  22. ^ Becker, David (September 15, 2003). "Vignette buys collaboration company". ZD Net. Archived from the original on January 16, 2005. 
  23. ^ "Vignette to Acquire Tower Technology Pty Ltd". CRM Today. January 23, 2004. Archived from the original on April 27, 2004. 
  24. ^ Diaz, Maria M. (April 18, 2008). "Video Sharing Becomes Part of Vignette Platform". CMSWire. 
  25. ^ a b c Thomas, Kas (July 25, 2008). "Interwoven prospers as Vignette continues to bleed". Real Story Group. 
  26. ^ a b c Guseva, Irina (July 28, 2008). "Vignette's Year on Year Income Falls 73.5%". CMS Wire. 
  27. ^ Clyman, John (September 17, 2002). "Vignette V6 Content Suite". PC Mag. 
  28. ^ Byrne, Tony (November 2, 2007). "Vignette, Ajax, and Usability". Real Story Group.