Partnership Gains Outweigh Risks for SAP, Microsoft

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2004-05-14 Print this article Print

With key software development partnerships with Microsoft for NetWeaver and with top hardware makers on the adaptive computing front, SAP has demonstrated its growing market power.

SAP has managed to score some impressive alliances this week that significantly strengthen the companys position as an enterprise applications provider.

The announcement that SAP AG and Microsoft Corp. will simplify the interoperability between their respective NetWeaver and .Net Web services development platforms will make it easier for SAP customers to deploy enterprise applications in the Windows environment.

To achieve this, SAP will issue a NetWeaver upgrade in 2005 that will enable SAP applications to integrate with Microsofts Biztalk Servers. SAP also will provide sample code allowing developers to integrate SAP applications with Microsoft Office and with applications built with Visual Studio 2005.

Click here to read about the rollout of NetWeaver 2004.
For its part, Microsoft has agreed provide in 2005 the repository managers that will link SAP NetWeaver Knowledge Management to Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Exchange Server.

Click here to read the details about SAPs extended development partnership with Microsoft. SAP also will provide a portal development kit to allow .NET developers to create custom applications that can work with the SAP portal platform.

SAP also has agreed to support Microsoft Visual Studio .NET so that developers can work within the Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment to build Windows front ends to SAP applications. Version 2.0 of SAPs .Net Connector, due for release in August, will include improved Visual Basic Language support.

Its not as though SAP has had any trouble migrating into organizations where Windows prevails. More than 40,000 SAP installations already run on Windows, and two-thirds of new SAP deployments are based on the Microsoft platform.

But greater integration between NetWeaver and .NET should streamline the development process. This should prove to be a particular benefit to organizations that are running mySAP Business Suite on Windows. But it will be of the greatest benefit to Microsoft independent software vendors, who will find it easier to build applications that work with SAP applications.

Click here to read what SAP executive board member Shai Agassi has to say about the companys efforts to use Web services as the foundation of a service-oriented architecture.

Development and technology alliances such as these are never done for altruistic reasons. This partnership brings competitive risks along with benefits for both companies. For SAP, the risk is that the closer integration will enable Windows ISVs to chip away at application functionality that might otherwise have been provided by SAP applications.

Next Page: Partnership raises minor risks for both companies.

John Pallatto John Pallatto is's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.

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