Microsoft Acquires SAP? (A Commentary)

Posted on December 5, 2007


In her December 3rd posting in Information Week, Mary Hayes Weier reported a rumor in which Microsoft was in the process of moving toward acquiring SAP.  The markets as Ms. Weier put it “felt strongly enough about the rumor that they drove up SAP’s stock by nearly 2%.”  She went on to say that “there could be something to it,” as Microsoft had originally “looked at acquiring SAP” in June of 2004.

Here is the link to the post in its entirety: 


With end-user satisfaction at an all-time low – recent reports involving the public sector for example indicate that 85% of all eGovernment initiatives worldwide fail to achieve the expected results, the emergence of Software as a Service (SaaS), and the likelihood that Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) will not break out of the manacles of technological limitations, acquisitions such as this or the recent IBM purchase of Cognos will ultimately mean very little in terms of making a tangible impact at the operational level.  This of course is where it matters the most.

Don’t get me wrong, the neonic splash of headlines coupled with the adjunct buzz in the street would certainly generate countless water-cooler discussions.  However in the end it will not dramatically alter the course in which these organizations and the industry as a whole are headed.

Just ask Ariba who between 2001 and 2004 lost $3 billion on $1 billion in sales.  Despite the bold proclamations associated with their On-Demand strategy, the simple fact is that big ships turn slowly.  A process which is further buffeted by the need to support sizeable infrastructures and the never ending performance demands of an impatient Wall Street.  (It would be an interesting study in contrasts if Wall Street performance was directly linked to implementation success.)

And this is where the “disconnect” between vendor and market (nee customers) originates, leading to an unbridgeable chasm in which the importance of process understanding through effective stakeholder engagement is lost in the hoopla of corporate “body building.”  An exercise (re Mergers and Acquisitions) which historically in and of itself, has failed to live up to expectations – anyone remember HP’s purchase of Compaq?

It reminds me of a chorus from an old Johnny Rivers song, “when will they ever learn.”

Posted in: Commentary