Oracle Acquisition Is Latest Twist In Obsession With SAP - InformationWeek

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5/16/2007
12:20 PM
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Oracle Acquisition Is Latest Twist In Obsession With SAP

Ah, obsession. It drives the plot of the world's most famous love stories. It gave Glenn Close a role in "Fatal Attraction." It manifests as a disorder that keeps psychiatrists busy. And it lingers between the lines in every announcement that has come from Oracle and SAP this week: an obsession, with the other company.

Ah, obsession. It drives the plot of the world's most famous love stories. It gave Glenn Close a role in "Fatal Attraction." It manifests as a disorder that keeps psychiatrists busy. And it lingers between the lines in every announcement that has come from Oracle and SAP this week: an obsession, with the other company.Oracle acquired Agile Software for $495 million on Tuesday, saying the product lifecycle software company will help it serve its supply chain customers better, and let it compete more effectively against…SAP. Oracle announced today a new customer win, Corsair Memory Inc. The headline of the press release: "Corsair Memory Inc. Selects the Oracle E-Business Suite Over SAP."

Not be outdone, SAP announced yesterday it had won Dansk Supermarked, Denmark's largest retailer, as a customer, beating out…Oracle. SAP also announced it's working more closely with Microsoft to accelerate and simplify adoption of SQL Server for SAP's business software. This is largely in reaction to Oracle, as Oracle often talks about its ability to offer both a database and business applications as its trump card over SAP.

Oracle is the aggressor, and the more obsessed of the two. But SAP seems to have determined it can longer ignore the piercing eyes of obsession. It knows Oracle is always going to be there, waiting to pounce. Obsession begets obsession.

Two big questions come to mind about this co-obsession.

1) With so many midsize and large companies already standardized on business software, how many customers could Oracle really steal away from SAP, and vice versa? Is all this obsession over small companies that they think may one day grow into large manufacturers who will buy databases, ERP apps, supply chain apps, BI apps, product lifecycle software, etc., all from one vendor?

2) Are Oracle and SAP and customers growing tired of this rival? Do they worry that it'll distract either vendor from their most important jobs of developing, selling, and deploying great software? Most of the customers I've talked to about this topic in recent months have shrugged it off; vendors will be vendors, you know. But the obsession is growing, as obsessions will do (just ask Glenn Close). At what point will it become a distraction?

If you're an Oracle or SAP customer, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Share them below, or if you'd like to keep this out of a public discussion forum, e-mail me at [email protected]

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