J.D. Edwards was founded in 1977 by three employees at a Denver, Colorado accounting firm: Jack Thompson, Dan Gregory, and Ed McVaney. There was no J.D. Edwards—that was an amalgam of its founders' first names. The new company was set up to design business software for small and mediumsized computers. In the early 1980s it began specializing in software for IBM computers—first the IBM System/38, and in 1988 for the AS/400. WorldSoftware, a package of business applications introduced by J.D. Edwards in 1983, was the firm's leading product by the end of the 1980s. By 1992, the company was not only the world's largest producer of IBM midrange software, it was the 30th largest software company overall in the United States, averaging 15 percet annual growth for fifteen years running. By the early 1990s, 32 percent of J.D. Edwards' sales were overseas. More important, to achieve that astounding pattern of growth, it never needed to go public.
Edwards maintained its success through much of the 1990s. In 1996 it introduced OneWorld. Termed configurable network computing, OneWorld was the first shot in J.D. Edwards' c-commerce revolution. One year later, in August 1997, in the bull's rush for computer and Internet stocks, the firm launched a well-received stock offering. By the middle of the following year, the firm was worth nearly $1 billion and could boast an annual compound growth rate of 52 percent. As 1999 began, the ERP industry as a whole, and giants like SAP and Baan in particular, were reporting declines in profits; J.D. Edwards, however, nearly doubled its revenues. Flush with success, the company set its sights on overtaking the industry leader SAP within five years time.
In 1999, determined that its OneWorld package go head to head with high-end SAP and PeopleSoft offerings, J.D. Edwards moved all out into collaborative commerce. It acquired two companies, Premisys and Numetrix, whose technologies were essential to making OneWorld interoperable. However, the Year 2000 (Y2K) transition problem threw the entire ERP sector into a recession, and J.D. Edwards' fortunes took a major downturn in early 2000. In April CEO Doug Massingil left the company after less than a year and a half on the job, and was replaced by the man he had replaced, J.D. Edwards founder Ed McVaney. A month later the company announced that it would lay off around 13 percent of its workforce throughout the world, and its share price plunged from a high of $49 to a little over $10.
Struggling to recover, the firm announced OneWorld XPI—eXtended Process Integration. This best-of-breed software solution made it possible for J.D. Edwards' customers to incorporate diverse software applications into a single system that managed all operations and interconnected them. Technology licensed from Netfish Technologies and Active Software provided OneWorld XPI with its so-called interoperability engine. In January 2001, Edwards used the Internet for the first time to sell its systems directly to customers. Summer 2001 saw a chastened J.D. Edwards scaling back its ambitious plans to overtake SAP. The company refocused its attentions on the middle-sized companies that were always its bread and butter. In 2001, the company employed nearly 5,000 employees in 60 different offices throughout the world, and had approximately 6,000 customers in 113 countries.
J.D. Edwards & Company - History