SAP claims success in seducing Oracle customers

SAP says it is seeing 'exponential growth' in defections from PeopleSoft and JD Edwards, and very strong growth across the board

PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers unhappy at being acquired by Oracle are heading over to SAP in significant numbers according to SAP's head of customer solutions, Leo Apotheker.

SAP started its Safe SAP Harbour programme to tempt customers to defect. Although the total number of new customers for the programme in the first half of this year was only 21 the "pipeline of safe passage deals is doubling every month", according to Apotheker. "That's exponential."

All these deals were signed with customers who had used PeopleSoft or JD Edwards software. "Oracle software is outside the Safe Passage program," said Apotheker "but a growing number of Oracle users are taking up SAP".

Earlier this year Oracle bought PeopleSoft, which itself had bought JD Edwards in 2003.

Speaking at the company’s half-year meeting in London, Apotheker took time to take a swipe at Oracle, claiming that SAP has "a competitor who believes that pricing is the only weapon that he has left." SAP now claims to be leading Oracle in "peer group share" in all its major markets, including the US, where SAP claims 41 percent of peer group share against 33 percent for Oracle. Peer group share in this instance is based on the share of the portion of the total market held by SAP, Microsoft, Siebel and Oracle, including its acquisitions.

SAP turned in strong results for the half-year across most markets, in particular the US where revenue was up 19 percent. But there are some difficult areas, including SAP's home market in Germany where revenue was only up 2 percent, which the company blamed on uncertainty over the forthcoming German elections.

Growth in the Japanese market, which the company believes is crucially important to its plans, was also disappointing.

The company did still claim that SAP was now just "a few years" off the point of achieving balance across its three main markers — EMEA, the Americas and Asia/Pacific.

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