Execs From SAP, HP Tweak Rivals - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

Execs From SAP, HP Tweak Rivals

The executives sounded off at Citrix Systems' iForum customer conference.

Executives from SAP and Hewlett-Packard took some verbal jabs at their respective competitors at Citrix Systems' annual iForum customer conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

SAP America president and CEO Bill McDermott said Oracle's attempt to swallow PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards is bad for customers. "If you're living in a world where SAP has 60% market share, and the next [competitors] are in the low teens, you've got these guys fighting each other, and the big problem is, 'what does that do for you?' The answer is nothing." McDermott told thousands of attendees during his keynote on Tuesday. "How do you integrate different platforms? Everyone is fighting it out on the lower end of the market for market share. We're focused on customers."

McDermott said Oracle's strategy won't work because the "run-up of technology acquisitions from best-of-breed suppliers" in recent years has led to massive application-integration problems for customers who now want to consolidate their application base and vendors.

"Best-of-breed companies in Silicon Valley are delivering brochures and not delivering to customers," McDermott said, predicting that Oracle won't be able to knit together the disparate applications and cultures of three vendors. Partner ecosystems are needed to deliver full solutions, he added, "but customers want a single point of accountability--one throat to choke. The merger, acquisition and consolidation environment is absolutely defining the marketplace we operate in today. We know Citrix, HP, and SAP will be around for a long time. I'm not sure about the other guys."

Meanwhile, one executive from HP, a key Citrix partner, took a swipe at Dell. Jim Milton, senior VP and managing director of HP's Enterprise Systems Group, North Americas, said the HP-Compaq marriage was the "best-executed corporate merger" in the world, and that the combined entity is in better position to serve the corporate audience than Dell.

"Dell got rid of the word 'Computer' from its name because they're in the TV business," Milton quipped, referring to Dell's recently announced plans to enter the consumer-electronics business.

The HP executive also told the audience that 60% of Citrix deployments run on HP platforms and that the two companies have many reseller partners in common.

While HP, SAP, and Citrix were united on stage this week, the gathering did not signify the creation of an alliance or triumvirate against other vendors, Citrix's top executive said. "There's no alliance. Vendor bashing is about competition," said Mark Templeton, president and CEO of Citrix, acknowledging that his company is vendor-agnostic and that its fortunes have risen because of disparate systems. "It's an endless battle between all the giants."

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