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Posted March 16, 2012

SAP to Challenge Oracle's Database Business?

By Pedro Hernandez

On April 10th, SAP will reveal how it plans to become a major force in the database software market, putting it on a collision course with Oracle, according to Reuters report.

"SAP will unveil its unified data management portfolio and demonstrate how we will become a leading database vendor." Details are scarce, other than the reveal will take place in downtown San Francisco.

However, it's expected that database provider Sybase, which SAP bought in 2010 for $5.8 billion, will factor prominently into the announcement. Reuters notes that after the acquisition, John Chen remained as CEO of Sybase unit.

Hello Sybase, Are You There?

Although viewed by the industry as a way to gain a foothold on the database market, SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott billed the transaction as a business mobility play.

"With this transaction, SAP will dramatically expand its addressable market by making available its market-leading solutions to hundreds of millions of mobile users, combining the world's best business software with the world's most powerful mobile infrastructure platform," he stated during the announcement.

Over the past two years, Sybase has announced product upgrades; made Big Data moves and embarked on initiatives like partnering with HP for the Sybase IQ 15 reference architecture. Nothing that screams from the rooftops. But next month’s announcement already has the makings of rare blockbuster news from the SAP company – at least among business IT circles.

Tensions Heightened

The companies, which are embroiled in a long-simmering feud, have been trading barbs as they compete for customers for their respective business management software offerings, and most recently, Big Data analytics. Their rivalry even spilled into the courtroom.

Lawyers for both sides have been locked in a five-year clash over a lawsuit stemming from TomorrowNow. The now-defunct SAP subsidiary had been accused of illegally downloading millions of files that allowed it to provide service and support for Oracle-owned PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards products.

In 2010, a jury passed down a $1.3 billion verdict in Oracle's favor, however a judge called that amount into question. A retrial is set for June.


Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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