Rant: Thoughts of SAHP are insane

I previously described speculation the last few days that H-P would acquire SAP as 'fanciful.' What I really meant was 'plain insane thinking.
Written by Dennis Howlett, Contributor

I previously described speculation the last few days that H-P would acquire SAP as 'fanciful.' What I really meant was 'plain insane thinking.' I am amazed that people who should know better are walking around the topic. Example: my good friend Ray Wang is quoted in PC World saying:

"SAP is better off partnering with both HP and IBM."...Together, the vendors can go after Oracle, with IBM and HP providing the services and sales channels for SAP's software, he said. "All of Oracle's competitors are now SAP's friends and soon to be HP's friends."

Well there's stating the bleeding obvious while avoiding the reality. Ray may well have said more and there is no accounting for editorial bias but even so, right now, those who know this stuff should be making far stronger statements. In the same article, my SAP Mentor colleague and Certification 5 collaborator Jon Reed is quoted as saying:

"I get the feeling SAP would be a little lukewarm to the idea right now."

Lukewarm? More like frigid. The problem I perceive is that many who are opining on this are driven by the short term and what they see in front of their face. They should be standing back and looking at what these companies do, their history and the players involved. I know they do it in private so why not in public?

Those with long memories will remember it is not so many years ago that SAP was rumored to be a Microsoft target. Anyone with half an analytical brain would have realised that was a non-starter from the get go. Culturally similar perhaps but a million miles apart on product. However, it is known that Gates and Ballmer approached the company. It is also known that co-founder Hasso Plattner basically told the Redmond boys to go take a hike - but not in those toned down terms. How do I know? Someone who was in the room at the time repeated the tale to me.

SAP has remained fiercely independent the whole of its 30 some years, has made very few strategically huge acquisitions, recent times aside with BOBJ and Sybase. Despite Oracle's attempts at rolling up everything else SAP still manages to rule the packaged applications enterprise roost although there are now other competitors in the SaaS/on-demand space like Salesforce.com and Workday. Yes, Oracle now represents the common enemy but that doesn't automatically mean a merger. How on earth does anyone seriously think that it would be attractive to H-P simply because Leo Apotheker is now at the helm? Or that Plattner and Co would roll over and sacrifice the independence they've fought hard to maintain?

And let's not forget that while Plattner and Co know that SAP has to be mindful of the markets, it has made expensive mistakes in the past by sailing too close to that particular trade wind. Come on people - think. Put an end to this shallow speculation and concentrate on the individual product roadmaps and strategies. That's far more important to the market and customers alike than all this BS. Speaking of which, SAP TechEd is just around the corner. That's where we'll see more of whatever SAP rubber is hitting the road. That's what I'm interested in discovering. As for the rest? The only shallow speculation I will make is as I have said before: reverse takeover, possibly, maybe, at some time in the future. But don't bank on it.

PS - I know I can safely use Ray and Jon's quotes as examples in the certain knowledge they also know I am saying nothing I would not say to them face to face.

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