The War over Invisible Code: COBOL-IT Shaking Up Micro Focus’ COBOL Monopoly.



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September 30, 2015 by Solutions Numeriques

85% of business transactions worldwide run on code written in the COBOL language. Micro Focus has had a near monopoly for managing it on open systems. But a new challenger, with demonstrably superior services at 50-80% of the cost, is causing many Fortune-class customers to convert.

Few have heard its name, but everybody uses it. Code written in the COBOL programming language powers most digital transactions worldwide, each day processing 200 times as many transactions as there are Google searches.

Widely used by Fortune 2,000 companies around the world, its business-oriented design has made it the top programming language for banks, payment companies and other financial institutions, driving an enormous market for COBOL software and services.

Nearly all of the market on open systems—well over $200 million—has been owned by Micro Focus (LON:MCRO). But the legacy management Goliath now finds itself challenged, as France-based COBOL-IT gains traction in the US with the allure of comparable performance and reliability at a typical cost reduction of 50-80%.

COBOL-IT boasts such clients as the French Ministry of Finance, Pepsico, Carrefour, Axway, French Yellow Pages, French Social Security, HSBC and Pelephone (Israel) among many others. Since coming to the US 6 years ago, COBOL-IT has already earned over 100 North American clients in the financial, retail and government sectors—80% of them migrated directly from Micro Focus.

The latest company to migrate to COBOL-IT is one of the largest payment services providers in the world. The company recently signed a global OEM agreement with COBOL-IT, allowing them to build the COBOL portions of their software into their credit card handling application and distribute it directly to customers. The new implementation was tested, approved and implemented in less than six months.

“Thanks to constant acquisitions, companies running COBOL on open systems haven’t really had a choice except Micro Focus.” said Stéphane Croce, CEO of COBOL-IT. But even as a new, relatively small competitor, Croce isn’t worried about being up against a giant as large as Micro Focus. “The monopoly puts a lot of IT managers and CIOs in tough positions, many of them even using outdated versions of Micro Focus software simply to manage costs. The demand for an alternative is growing, opening up lots of opportunities. We’re more affordable, more flexible, and our code is more evolved. If we’re playing David, well, we’ve got a great slingshot.”

COBOL-IT has devoted considerable efforts to make transitioning to their services as quick and seamless as possible while mitigating risks that come with large-scale code migrations. Their compiler and pre-compilers by design are compatible with a wide range of platforms, and COBOL-IT is in the process of expanding its already large tech support base in the US to further assist with implementation.

COBOL-IT Director of Technical Services Bob Cavanagh explains, “When a large corporation indicates that they are exploring alternatives to their COBOL compiler, you can be certain they have a high degree of motivation. Fortune 2,000 companies don’t do migrations like this unless the benefits are clear.”

COBOL-IT’s products include a compiler suite, a family of pre-compilers and a developer studio/IDE. The entire COBOL-IT Product Suite runs on Windows, Enterprise Linux, z/Linux and UNIX platforms. The COBOL-IT Compiler Suite includes an ANSI-compliant COBOL compiler and utilities. The COBOL-IT Developer Studio allows programmers to develop, debug and maintain COBOL code in a familiar Eclipse-based IDE. The CitSQL precompiler family allows users to seamlessly integrate COBOL programs with embedded SQL statements to MySQL, PostgreSQL and ODBC-compliant databases into their application.

COBOL-IT’s North American growth has led the company to seek technical and commercial partners in order to take advantage of the growing opportunities for migration.


For press inquiries, contact Chris Orris at: or at: (630) 294-6645.

Interviews can be arranged upon request with COBOL-IT Management.



COBOL-IT offers a high quality, professional COBOL compiler to large enterprises seeking to migrate, deploy and maintain their COBOL applications at the lowest cost and lowest risk. Founded in 2008, COBOL-IT has rapidly assumed a prominent position in the global COBOL community, migrating hundreds of customers, with hundreds of thousands of users and hundreds of millions of lines of COBOL code. Partnership agreements between COBOL-IT and leading providers of technical services and software solutions in open systems ensure that moving to COBOL-IT can be accomplished at low cost and low risk everywhere in the world.

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Contact: Chris Orris, Oxygen PR
Tel: +1 (630) 294-6645