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SAP becomes Oracle East

SAP becomes a provider with an ERP-middleware-database-development tools stack, essentially becoming another Oracle. An Oracle with a lot of mobility, that is.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer on

Yesterday, SAP and Sybase, Inc., announced that SAP’s subsidiary, SAP America, Inc., has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Sybase, Inc., in $5.8-billion a transaction that will bring the two information technology vendors together to enable companies to become better-run “unwired enterprises.”

What's the deal with that?

In the process, SAP becomes a provider with an ERP-middleware-database-development tools stack, essentially becoming another Oracle. An Oracle with a lot of mobility, that is. (Of course, SAP also has its MaxDB database.) Oracle and SAP have been in coopetition for years, as bloodthirsty arch-rivals in the ERP space. (Remember how Oracle sued SAP a couple years back?)  Yet, they are partners in the database part of the stack, with many SAP instances running on Oracle.

Needless to say, the acquisition raised a lot of eyebrows around the CNET/ZDNet community here as well as across the blogosphere.

My colleague Dennis Howlett, who prides himself on being a thorn in SAP's side, simply asks, "but why?" As he puts it: "One short term problem will be a perceived confusion over database selection and the future of the relational database in SAP environments." Dennis also questions how the Sybase acquisition will help SAP reach deeper into the financial services and telco spaces that it seems to covet.

Dana Gardner is a little more upbeat about what SAP is up to, noting that the acquisition helps it "get back in the race." Dana observes that "SAP needed to get back in the Big Game to remain a top-tier IT vendor. Sybase fills major gaps in SAP’s portfolio, and gives it an instant chance to play in rapidly changing mobile market."

Michael Krigsman says there is no anti-Oracle angle to the acquisition, quoting analyst Merv Adrian, who says SAP is unlikely to push customers off Oracle onto Sybase. SAP is concerned about its ability to deliver into fast-emerging spaces such as mobile computing: "I believe SAP understands it has lost certain competitive edges over the last years and is now making a concerted effort to address this situation. The acquisition represents SAP’s willingness to invest in new areas and markets."

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