SAP, Microsoft Gang Up on Oracle
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Microsoft on Wednesday announced that SAP will be the "preferred partner" for customers buying its budgeting, planning and forecasting applications, a move that's clearly intended to send a message to Oracle.
The deal represents an extension of the two software giants' existing and largely amicable relationship as well as their shared disdain for Oracle.
While Oracle remains SAP's largest and most formidable rival in the business application market, it's also the most significant threat to Microsoft's database software business.
And yet SAP and Microsoft do compete for the same customersparticularly for those enterprise customers looking for a one-stop shop for general ledger and customer relationship management (CRM) application suites.
Apparently, this overlap in shared business opportunities is trumped by their collective desire to keep Oracle and its ravenous acquisition strategy at bay.
Under the partnership agreement, Microsoft will now support the SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation application as the preferred suite for customers running their business apps on the Microsoft platform.
Company officials said they are working to identify targeted "go-to-market initiatives" to accelerate the adoption of SAP BusinessObjects applications among the Microsoft user community.
The two companies -- once rumored as a likely merger candidates several years ago -- said they will continue to collaborate to build applications that integrate smoothly with each others' applications and will make joint sales calls to promote the new partnership.
"SAP provides a leading unified planning and consolidation solution that delivers value for customers on the Microsoft platform," Tom Casey, general manager of Microsoft's SQL server business intelligence group, said in a statement.
Oracle officials were not immediately available to comment.
The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company is still sweating out approval of its proposed $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems from Europe regulators. Recent reports suggest approval, which was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, may not be a fait accompli across the Atlantic.
Both companies said the budgeting and forecasting applications will help enterprise customers complete their quarterly and annual financial reports faster and ensure greater accuracy and compliance with federal regulations.
"SAP has taken an aggressive stance that its business planning and consolidation product from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio can be used by all firms, not just SAP customers," said AMR Research analyst John Hagerty. "The company commits to continued development and support with Microsofts product stack. Existing customers and prospects should rest assured they can choose the technical platform that makes most sense for them."
SAP and Microsoft officials said they also will make more appearances together at industry events to evangelize this latest partnership agreement.
Microsoft shares inched up $0.02 a share to $30.02 in Wednesday afternoon trading while Oracle and SAP shares trimmed $0.11 and $0.13 a share, respectively.