SAP Comes Out Swinging

By Evan Schuman  |  Posted 2006-01-21 Print this article Print

Oracle officially would not comment on their news release run of bad luck, other than to issue a short statement from Oracle Corporate Communications VP Bob Wynne: "While our competition seems very focused on what Oracle is doing, we are focusing our efforts on meeting our customers needs today and into the future. In the end, we think thats what customers want." Actually, I think most of their customers would like a wee bit more of an explanation of these errors so they can figure out what to believe.
Fortunately for us columnists, SAP executives were only too happy to oblige with some choice words.
"Good competition is good for customers," said Bill Wohl, SAPs VP and head of their product technology group communications business. In this instance, though, "one of the competitors really isnt playing fairly and that isnt good for customers. What customers are looking for today is a trusted partner." Wohl then added that Oracle is "not being straight with the market about facts. Oracle has a habit of never letting the facts get in the way of a good story." But SAPs Wohl then set a new goal for Oracle and this is where things get dicey. "What customers want is straight talk" and not a vendor "that isnt always telling the complete story in the marketplace." Oracles mistakes are sloppy and—lets be candid here—are certainly intended to persuade, if not outright deceive. But is it a reasonable standard to only work with vendors that always tell the complete story? Can SAP live up to that standard? Sun? Dell? CA? IT managers undoubtedly know how few news releases are issued today that do not selectively present half-truths, with the intent to trick the public into thinking something thats not true. And many companies do not hesitate to outright lie. Oracle claims it is halfway to producing Fusion apps. Click here to read more. But companies of Oracles size demand more attention and their errors are not as easily ignored. SAP levels additional charges at Oracle, suggesting that their reported financial numbers are misleading because they are not putting the revenues of their purchased companies (especially Retek, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards) into the proper context. If they did so, Wohl argues, it would show that SAP is winning the market-share battle in retail much more so than Oracle admits. SAP is indeed winning the initial battle, but its quite unclear if IT managers will be persuaded one way or the other with these errors. Thats the benefit of years of IT cynicism: CIOs havent believed anything a vendors said in more than 20 years. Evan Schuman is retail editor for Ziff Davis Internets Enterprise Edit group. He has tracked high-tech issues since 1987, has been opinionated long before that and doesnt plan to stop anytime soon. He can be reached at Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on technologys impact on retail.

Evan Schuman is the editor of's Retail industry center. He has covered retail technology issues since 1988 for Ziff-Davis, CMP Media, IDG, Penton, Lebhar-Friedman, VNU, BusinessWeek, Business 2.0 and United Press International, among others. He can be reached by e-mail at

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