Microsofts coy denial of being interested in moving upmarket in the enterprise software market has always been comically implausible. Back in March, the company provided the DOJ with a sworn statement to the effect that it has no plans to enter the enterprise market within the next two years. Oh, puh-leaze. The disclosure about the SAP deal only confirms what most of us have always assumed: namely, that a company that goes out and buys two enterprise application companies (Great Plains and Navision) and which has pledged to invest the enormous sum of $10 billion in R&D into this space over the next five years has every intention of taking the enterprise software market by storm.Oracle will put Microsofts Cindy Bates on the stand as its 18th witness out of 25 this week. Antitrust experts expect Oracle to paint Microsoft as a strong competitor in the enterprise market. As Paul Friedman, a Washington, D.C.-based partner at law firm Dechert LLP, told me, "Oracle hopes to show that Microsoft has very ambitious plans to participate in that space and, frankly, has substantial business imperatives to be successful in that space." Microsoft will likely contend that just because it was interested in SAP doesnt mean that it was interested in entering the high-end enterprise space. As Friedman pointed out, theres more to SAP than high-end software. "It begs the question," Friedman said. "[Microsoft was trying] to enter which market?" Indeed, what would Microsoft have bought if it acquired SAP? Next page: Microsoft needed SAP to cure its scalability and sales problems.
Click here to read more about Microsofts acquisition of Navision.