WSJ.com - Microsoft, SAP Form Alliance on Web Software "Microsoft Corp. and SAP AG, longtime partners and increasingly competitors as well, agreed to integrate their high-profile efforts in Web software.
The deal, which is to be announced at an SAP conference in New Orleans, is another indication of the success corporate customers are having in forcing software companies to eliminate technology roadblocks that have often served to entrench particular providers.
The agreement includes provisions to link SAP's software, which is typically used for managing business functions such as manufacturing, supplies and financial reporting, with Microsoft's Office suite of desktop applications. SAP and Microsoft created a joint marketing fund and a technology support center in Germany and cross-licensed their patent portfolios.
SAP's NetWeaver also is partly based on Java. But Mr. Kagermann and Mr. Gates both said SAP's customers wanted NetWeaver to work with Microsoft's .NET technology. Mr. Gates said the ability to exchange information between applications has become more important than the choice of programming languages. "You could say, 'It's the data, stupid,' " he said."