Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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Bob Evans
Bob Evans

Oracle Fading In Rear-View Mirror, Says SAP CEO

Trying to apply some sort of favorable spin to SAP's disappointing quarterly results, CEO Leo Apotheker implied that while things at SAP aren't exactly booming, the situation at Oracle is even worse.

Trying to apply some sort of favorable spin to SAP's disappointing quarterly results, CEO Leo Apotheker implied that while things at SAP aren't exactly booming, the situation at Oracle is even worse.In a BusinessWeek article about SAP's quarterly results, Apotheker is quoted as having said this in a conference call with reporters:

"Your're going to have to put on your glasses to see Oracle in the rearview mirror," Apotheker said. "I don't think anything has changed."

And so it goes between the two leading enterprise-software companies in the world, as they collectively seem to be able to defy the laws of mathematics, physics, and logic as each company's CEO swears quarter after quarter that his company is burying the other. Thus the other-worldly representations that Oracle is always able to take market share from SAP yet SAP's market share goes up, and SAP-as per Apotheker's comment-relentlessly pulls away from Oracle yet Oracle never falls behind. Simply amazing.

Referring to Apotheker, BusinessWeek's article also offered this perspective in the paragraph immediately preceding his rear-view mirror quotation:

He rejected suggestions that archrival Oracle has been able to exploit the downturn to gain market share vs. SAP. The U.S. company has spent $30 billion in the past half-decade acquiring almost 60 companies, including PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems. But Oracle has struggled to integrate the acquisitions into a new platform known as Fusion, which CEO Larry Ellison recently confirmed will be available in 2010.

But tough talk aside, it's no fun out there for either SAP or Oracle as revenue figures continue to slide as commitment-averse CIOs hold tight to their cash, according to the article:

"We always said 2009 would be a tough year," Apotheker said. While the market for SAP's software and services has stabilized, he said, a recovery in sales is still weak, especially in Japan and emerging markets.

Tomorrow morning, we'll have a broader Global CIOanalysis of how SAP's results have led it to experiment with some laudable new approaches to its pricing and payment models that are more in tune with the reality of today's challenging market.

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