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World's Largest Enterprise Software Vendor Backs this Mobile Platform; Should You?

Mobile enterprise application platforms help developers create apps fast and furious(ly). The biggest enterprise vendor has chosen to standardize on one. Should you?

Microsoft may be the best-known/most notorious, IBM the largest if you include revenue from its lucrative (read: expensive) services business, Oracle the largest if you include all of the software AND hardware acquisitions it is still cobbling together.

But at US$18 billion-a-year in revenue, SAP AG remains the largest maker of enterprise software by far (see chart), a position it has held for more than a decade. For all the hype around Salesforce.com and other Web generation vendors, SAP (full disclosure: my parent company) still leads three huge markets: ERP, CRM and, via its acquisition of BusinessObjects, business intelligence.

At its recent SAPPHIRE NOW conference, SAP declared its intentions to become the world leader in a fourth market, too: mobile enterprise apps.

Via the Mobile Business Unit in its Sybase subsidiary, SAP plans to release about 50 apps this year. They will run the gamut from lightweight 'instant value' apps that simply extend processes and workflows to a smartphone or tablet, to complex, data-rich, multi-screen apps that rival full server applications in functionality.

But SAP is also hoping to quickly build an ecosystem of third-party developers to write mobile apps that connect to existing SAP applications. 100 is the target this year. As well, it hopes to recruit the massive, underused legions of Web developers to the mobile battlefield.

In both cases, SAP is touting the Sybase Unwired Platform as its exclusive mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) of choice, both for when it builds its own apps, and when outside developers and ISVs build for SAP applications.

Besides its cross-platform capabilities, SUP 2.0 features a much-improved SDK for native development, as well as a new 'container' architecture that enables Web developers to build Web apps for mobile devices. That has SUP 2.0 generating much interest (so much so that we are in the enviable position of having trouble keeping up with demand...)

If you'd like to learn more about SUP 2.0 and how it stacks up against all of the other MEAPs out there, check out the recording of the Webcast 'Develop Native and Web Apps with Sybase Unwired Platform 2.0" by clicking here.