Global CIO: Are HP And SAP Perfect Match Or Train Wreck? - InformationWeek

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Commentary
10/11/2010
08:11 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Global CIO: Are HP And SAP Perfect Match Or Train Wreck?

Unless HP intends to become a software powerhouse, its hiring of ex-SAP CEO Apotheker makes zero sense. So where's the benefit for SAP?

You folks are among the most-intelligent audiences in the world, so help me out with this one because I can't quite seem to see the logic:

1) Hewlett-Packard—the largest IT company in the world—could have hired just about any CEO in the world, but it chose an executive who had, at best, mixed results in his one brief stint as CEO of SAP.

2) HP realizes that its two primary competitors—IBM and Oracle—have extensive strengths in enterprise software, and that it needs to close the yawning gaps between it and those better-balanced competitors.

3) The only possible explanation for HP's decision to hire Apotheker is that it wants to leverage his extensive knowledge of the enterprise-software market, particularly enterprise applications, as it builds out and acquires a more-powerful software portfolio that can at least approach the balanced capabilities of Oracle and IBM.

4) Apotheker's arrival at HP has ripped open the almost-healed wounds in the company's relationship with Oracle, and, based on public comments from Larry Ellison about Apotheker, has called into question the sustainability of the long-time and lucrative HP-Oracle alliance.

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5) In that context, HP must view SAP as a godsend with its vast and highly regarded fleet of enterprise-software products, its 107,000 global customers, its market momentum, and its complete and absolute lack of hardware products in its portfolio.

6) For SAP, HP represents a great opportunity, as noted recently by SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott, who said Apotheker's arrival at HP will enable the two companies to extend and deepen their relationship.

7) But here's what I just can't see or simply don't get:

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