API turf war heats up as MuleSoft buys ProgrammableWeb

As we’ve been hearing, application programming interfaces (APIs) and their management is a hot battleground. And it got hotter Tuesday morning with MuleSoft buying ProgrammableWeb.

With this acquisition MuleSoft gets a popular online site used by web, mobile and other developers who want to connect their applications to third-party applications and data sources. San Francisco-based MuleSoft paints itself as a de facto hub for new-fangled web and mobile APIs as well as the more mature APIs behind enterprise applications.  It’s a wide world. MuleSoft estimates there are more than 13,000 active APIs  currently.

What ProgrammableWeb brings to the table is a sort of white pages directory of APIs, said Richard Seroter, a product manager for Tier 3, who uses the service. ProgrammableWeb has “lots of API content on the blog and is a good source of stats on API proliferation,” he said via Twitter.

The Next Web reported Tuesday morning that Alcatel-Lucent bought ProgrammableWeb three years ago; but i just double checked and there is no reference in MuleSoft’s statement about Alca-Lu ownership. I’ve asked MuleSoft for follow up and will update this when I hear.

Update: And … here’s the statement emailed from MuleSoft CEO Greg Schott:

“ProgrammableWeb was acquired by Alcatel-Lucent in 2010 and was operating as an independent subsidiary with a separate url, brand, etc. MuleSoft acquired ProgrammableWeb from Alcatel-Lucent and plans to continue to run ProgrammableWeb as an independant business unit.”

This news comes a day after CA Technologies bought Layer 7, an API management company and five days after Intel(s intc) purchased Mashery, another API management company.

This story was updated at 9:22 a.m. PST with the Next Web link and again at 9:43 a.m. PST with MuleSoft’s comment on Alcatel-Lucent’s ownership of ProgrammableWeb.