WSJ.com - Microsoft Says Flirting With SAP Was Partly To Battle IBM: "Gates also ruminated about an SAP acquisition in a June 7, 2003 e-mail to Ballmer.
'Another thought that came to mind is that it's time we bought SAP,' he wrote. 'Given our view of the need to strengthen our platform and our willingness to use value to do it, it seems interesting.'
But in the same e-mail, Gates also hedged his bets.
'Thinking about this PeopleSoft bid by Oracle made me wonder if we should approach them and suggest a minority investment to bolster their independence in return for a modest platform commitment,' he wrote."
Mission accomplished -- in part thanks to Oracle -- apparently without the minority investment.