Well it’s very interesting that this buy-out has generated a lot of discussion around an IBM/SAP merger or a Microsoft/SAP merger. Of course because of the relative sizes of the companies concerned it would be SAP that would be bought out. Not a cheap purchase though at 45 billion market cap. I don’t think it’s likely – both Microsoft and IBM have explored this before and backed away, but it’s fun to speculate.
IBM buys SAP scenario
Well IBM would almost undoubtably form tighter alliances between WebSphere and NetWeaver. Few people realise that we already collaborate on products and we have a center in Germany staffed by IBM people and SAP people for this reason. This almost brings me to my point, but lets leave that until the end. IBM uses SAP itself and shares many customers with SAP already, so this wouldn’t be an “Oracle buys Peoplesoft” type of situation – we already are very well “meshed” together. Let’s look at the next scenario.
Microsoft buys SAP scenario
What would Microsoft do? I think they would leave the core but redesign the GUI for SAP. We’ve already separated the front-end quite substantially on SAP, so this will be very easy to do. Oh! and we’ve already collaborated with Microsoft on “Duet”. This is a Microsoft Office / SAP mash-up that gives very tight integration at the front-end.
So to look at the likelyhood of a buy-out in this light – I would have to say why? We (at SAP) are already aligned strongly with IBM and Microsoft and we convert clients from Oracle on an almost daily basis. I might be wrong here but I think it’s an expensive aquisition to accomplish very little. Market share yes – but neither Big Blue or Microsoft want to play in the Enterprise Application arena.
Fun to speculate though and time will tell.