SAP: Well Embrace Java And .Net

Enterprise software giant SAP is set to announce at next week's TechEd that it will let its customers adopt a Java architecture or Microsoft's .Net depending on their preference.

Enterprise software giant SAP AG will not force its customers to adopt a Java architecture if they want to use Microsoft Corp.s .Net instead, a company spokesman said.

Rebutting a report published yesterday that said the Walldorf, Germany, developer will announce at its developers conference next week that it will adopt Sun Microsystems Inc.s Java 2 Enterprise Edition instead of .Net, spokesman Bill Wohl said SAP will let users of its software choose whichever architecture they want.

"There is no one over the other," Wohl said. "What were saying is were going to embrace the two, not one over the other."

Wohl explained SAPs theory of providing an open platform to customers, to give them endless choices for application development and integration. If additional developing standards emerge, said Wohl, SAP will embrace them as well.

"Were not going to pick both [J2EE and .Net] were going to pick everything," said Wohl. "Thats been our strategy all along."

Currently the two competing component-based architectures are J2EE and Microsofts .Net.

J2EE, available now, is a development platform for enterprise software based on the Java programming language. The forthcoming .Net platform is Microsofts plan to create a standards-based initiative for Internet services. Both are considered a lead-in for the next phase in development: Web services.

.Net is not compatible with J2EE.

But some question why SAP would choose to include .Net in its strategy moving forward when the technology is not yet on the market. J2EE, in contrast, has been in full release for the past year, and is by some measure a proven technology that has been endorsed by SAPs main competitors, including Oracle Corp. and PeopleSoft Inc.

SAP, which has for decades written its software using its own development language known as BAPI (Business Application Programming Interfaces), has done some application development in Java. The question that remains is how easy – or difficult – it will be to transfer BAPI into Java or .Net.

According to some analysts, J2EE has the lead in terms of openness.

"One of the things it means for SAP not using .Net is that they are not locked into a set of Microsoft specific services," said Dirk Coburn, director of Java and XML for e-business at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass. "It speaks to their wariness to a business model lock in."

SAP, for its part, plans to unveil its development plans next week at its TechEd conference in Los Angeles.

"On Tuesday we will lay out the next technology vision," said Wohl. "That vision is based on the next tenant that [CEO] Hasso [Plattner] has been talking about – openness and ease of integration. Were building a technology vision that gives customers an almost unlimited number of choices."