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SAP Announces New Partners For SME Offerings

SAP (NYSE:SAP) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), the world's biggest makers of business software and microchips, will jointly offer servers prepackaged with SAP software aimed at medium-size firms, the two companies said.

The package, which companies should be able to use straight out of the box, is Germany-based SAP's first venture into hardware offerings preinstalled with its software and will be followed by other such partnerships, SAP said at the CeBIT technology fair on Tuesday.

"The offering targets midsize companies in the manufacturing, service and trade industries and directly addresses the demands in these market segments for quick and easy implementation, and tailored yet scalable solutions at predictable costs," SAP said in a statement.

The hardware for the prototype SAP is showing at CeBIT is provided by open-source software specialist Novell's (NASDAQ: NOVL) SUSE Linux Enterprise.

SAP said the offering, which brings together its Business All-in-One software and modular servers based on Intel's Xeon processors, would help smaller companies reduce their total cost of ownership for IT systems.

SAP is pushing to expand its strong customer base among large enterprises to include more smaller businesses, and the drive is a crucial part of its plan to double its market value and raise profitability to a level comparable with rivals.

It is also readying for market a hosted application aimed at smaller companies, which it will offer over the Internet for a fixed regular subscription fee that will include remotely managing its customers' IT systems.

SAP said on Tuesday it had signed up 21 new IT service providers as partners for this hosted offering, Business ByDesign, bringing its total number of Business ByDesign partners to 43.

The new partners include mainly small service providers in China, France, Germany and Britain -- some of the countries where SAP plans to roll out the service.

SAP has said it aims to have about 1,000 customers using Business ByDesign by the end of the year.