In the past month or so, both Dennis Moore and Nimish Mehta have left SAP. Their reasons are well-known among Oracle alumni to be — at least in large part — discomfort with SAP’s direction. (My unnamed sources on that are highly reliable.) And of course Shai Agassi left earlier this year. It now looks as if my contrarian viewpoint pooh-poohing the importance of Shai’s departure was probably wrong.
Based on all that, I don’t think there’s much reason for optimism about SAP’s system software futures, except perhaps for those that are placed wholly under the control of the Business Objects division. NetWeaver? Already a creaking omnibus. MaxDB? They didn’t get it right the first time around; what will be different now? BI Accelerator? That one actually could do well under Business Objects. The dream of other kinds of appliances? Not likely to achieve take-off. TREX? They weren’t really enhancing that much anyway. The rest of the search-related vision Dennis outlined for me? That’s another one that actually could thrive under Business Objects, but I expect a considerable number of false starts at best before they work out a coherent new strategy.
The high-end app business, the new SaaS business, the new Business Objects subsidiary — any and all of those could do well. But the attempts to become a broad-based system software player rivaling Oracle, Microsoft, and/or IBM are looking a lot less healthy than they used to.
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