ACI has bought StarNine, the company that makes the WebSTAR Server Suite.

ACI, publishers of the 4th Dimension (4D) relational database development tool, announced the acquisition today.

Rob Wiley, UK manager of ACI, said:"WebSTAR is the main Web server product on the Mac platform, and 4D has a strong heritage on the Mac. The two products have a natural synergy - the Web aspects of 4D have become more important to us over the last few years, and hopefully in 4D version 6.7 the two products will be tied more closely together."

At the same time, the built-in Web server in 4D will be maintained to allow the company to provide a broader range of Web solutions tailored to fit different requirements.

Wiley said that distribution in the UK would remain unchanged in the short term - with ACI selling 4D directly to developers, and WebSTAR through distributors.

He also said that WebSTAR would keep its compatibility with other database products such as FileMaker: "It's not necessarily good business to cut those products out - 4D is a top-end product, and we wouldn't want to cut out the other 90 per cent of the WebStar market."

As far as future development goes, Wiley said that supporting Mac OS X with both product lines was the "main thrust" of the company's activities, but the company would also evaluate the viability of a Windows version of WebSTAR.

StarNine's president Scott Steward said in a statement: "ACI is a mature company whose longevity will provide a strong foundation for advancing the WebSTAR Server Suite."