SAP dumps Microsoft for Sybase

By : |November 18, 2003 0

NEW YORK- Europe’s biggest software firm SAP AG said on Monday it was teaming up with U.S. software maker Sybase Inc. to offer its Business One packages for smaller businesses, reducing its reliance on Microsoft Corp.

SAP’s software for bigger businesses already run on the Unix operating system, but until now, its offering for smaller companies was an exclusively Microsoft application.

Cooperation with Sybase, known for selling database software to mobile services providers and financial services companies, will allow SAP to offer Business One on the Unix and Linux operating systems.

Unix is an operating system used mainly by big businesses. Linux is a fast-growing alternative to the dominant Windows platform from Microsoft.

“A lot of small businesses like to get away from Windows, but until now they haven’t had that opportunity,” said Marty Beard, senior vice president of corporate development and marketing at Sybase.

Beard said costs of Linux- and Unix-based Business One will vary only slightly from the Windows-based version. SAP, which has been offering Business One for a year and a half and has 1,600 customers, said the new partnership would not affect its relationship with Microsoft. Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.

The companies are increasingly rivals as well as partners as the competition for business from small- and medium-sized business heats up.

SAP has been trying to win new clients among smaller businesses, expanding its traditional field of enterprise software for big companies, where it is already dominant and running out of potential new clients.

“Small companies don’t have the freedom to make arbitrary (budgetary) decisions,” said Gary Fromer, vice president of small business and hosting for SAP America. “This makes their behavior slightly more predictable.”

The software market for small businesses will account for 53 percent of technology spending growth in 2003, according to market research firm IDC.

Sales are expected to be particularly strong in Asia, where Sybase has a big operation. The Dublin, California-based company also partners with PeopleSoft Inc. to offer enterprise software for big companies.

® Reuters

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