SAP Watch

Aug 21 2009   2:23PM GMT

As Oracle’s day in the Sun inches closer, SAP continues to sunblock

CourtneyBjorlin Courtney Bjorlin Profile: CourtneyBjorlin

This week, Oracle took a step closer to offering the McDonald’s value meal of the tech world – the U.S. Justice Department giving the green light to a deal with Sun that will have Oracle selling “hamburger, fries and a soda” software/hardware packages to companies.

There’s still the matter of the European Union’s OK – which is being held up by concerns over Java, middleware and databases, according to the Wall Street Journal. But the WSJ also reports that the Justice Department’s OK is an encouraging sign that the EU’s approval isn’t far behind.  

Meanwhile, SAP CEO Leo Apotheker has been making it very clear over the past few weeks, in interviews with the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, that SAP has no intention of following the Sun.

I have never, ever heard a customer expressing the faintest wish for having everything delivered out of one hand,” he said in an interview with the New York Times. “Someone is probably trying to imagine wishes that they would like to hear.”

 SAP executive Bill McDermott made the same clear to me in an interview back in April.

“I think they have introduced a tremendous level of risk into their business model by making this wild foray into hardware,” McDermott said. “They know nothing about hardware and now they’ve made a move into the hardware business.”

But, if Oracle can actually deliver on its vision, would it be easier to get everything out of one hand? Are the competitive drawbacks overshadowed by the ease-of-use advantages, particularly for smaller companies, which SAP’s so aggressively courting these days?

Forrester Research analyst Stefan Reid argues that SAP should use this as an opportunity to partner more aggressively with hardware vendors in his excellent analysis “Oracle’s Sun Acquisition is a Game Changer.” He recommends strengthening relationships with Dell, HP, IBM and Fujitsu as potential partners for joined appliance and cloud-style offerings.

“Oracle’s new strength also represents a weakness until the ecosystem balances out,” he writes. “SAP should turn to the soon-to-be broken relationships between Oracle and its hardware partners into a growth opportunity.”

What do you think?

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