The peculiar SAP-Microsoft partnership continues to deepen. We’ve written about this in the past, but I think Jon Reed summed up the situation best with the image of “one set of hands shaking and another set in a thumb war“. In the upper end of the market, SAP and the ‘softies are best buds, as evidenced by their solid Duet commitment. Last I heard they were well past the 300,000 user mark and it was one of the big stories at Sapphire Atlanta last month.
This week was Sapphire Vienna, and sure enough, another big SAP-Microsoft story dropped: SAP and Microsoft are setting up a joint German lab to marry SAP’s Business Suite with SQL Server 2005. That makes a lot of business sense, and it doesn’t take much imagination to see this as another way of teaming up and sticking it to Oracle. Ellison had a pretty big week too by the way — the Agile acquisition alone is enough to keep SAP on it’s toes.
But then there’s this midmarket business, the elephant in the room neither company seems to want to talk about. Microsoft is serious about Dynamics, and they’re starting to get nods of recognition. But SAP is betting hard on A1S, the upcoming on-demand ERP solution targeting the niche of customers that fall between the already existing SMB solutions BusinessOne and All-in-One. Furthermore, SAP made the public commitment that it will nearly triple its customer base by 2010 — a goal that puts it squarely on a collision course with its friends in Redmond. Indeed, as 2010 and the inevitable SMB surge SAP needs in order to hit the magic 100,000 customer-mark draws near, I predict considerable friction at just about the same time Duet 2.0 rolls out.
But for now, everything is peachy. Kumbaya, and so on.