More On Duet From Raikes; SAP Spat With Oracle Erupts

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MBS president Jeff Raikes shared a few more factoids about the next generations of Duet on Tuesday afternoon.

The next 1.5 release of the Microsoft Office-to-SAP- linkage software will add recruitment management and purchasing management to the Office-SAP linkage software.

Next years' Duet 2.0 will in turn add sales management, support for lead- and opportunity management and in Supply Chain Management (SCM) will support product and supply planning, Raikes said during his cameo appearance during Leo Apotheker's Sapphire 2007 keynote.

In 2.0 "we will not only deepen capabilities but broaden support for government regulations and compliance (GRC) and resource management, Raikes noted.

After that, and after Microsoft ships its Office 14 release and SAP has updated its business suite, Duet 3.0 will build on those next platforms and, because of its embrace of SharePoint, support collaboration work with structured and unstructured data, Raikes said. In that timeframe, development and other partners will also be able to get a Software Development toolkit for Duet, he noted.

Reached for clarification, a Microsoft spokesman said the relevant integration here is between SAP and the full Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, as well as the base Windows SharePoint Services (WSS).

"WSS provides base document workflow and it can be integrated with SAP's own unstructured workflow, she said. The MOSS integration also includes Microsoft's search capabilities so a partner could federate Microsoft search with SAP data.

With Duet 3.0, a salesperson needing to know about deals pending with customers, could funnel relevant information from SAP into personal My Sites which would already include his or her own documents and workflows, the spokeswoman said.

The 3.0 release will also come with a related Software Development Kit (SDK) to help VARs build custom linkages.

The inaugural Duet, co-developed by Microsoft and SAP, shipped last year and promises to forge better ties between popular Office front ends and pervasive SAP ERP back ends.

Sapphire 2007, in Atlanta, showcased the "coopetetive" glomming together of Microsoft and SAP against the forces of evil: aka Oracle.

Microsoft and SAP are both rivals (in midmarket ERP) and some other areas as well as among each others' biggest customers. What they also have in common is a big platform-and-apps competitor in Oracle, which is now suing SAP and is in a database and apps competition with Microsoft.

SAP, usually reticent about blasting the competition, did get some digs in. At one point, CEO Henning Kagermann stated: "our competitors will consolidate the past, we will innovate the future." He didn't name the competitor, but everyone knew what he meant.

Oracle has spent upwards of $20 billion dollars in the last several years mostly to bulk up its enterprise applications portfolio. An SAP spokesman last week said that large expenditure has netted Oracle no significant additional market share.

During a Q&A sessoin, Kagermann was asked if SAP customers woul dhave been better served using open middleware rather than SAP's its "proprietary" NetWeaver.

The ensuing dialogue went something like this:

"What makes you say it's proprietary?" Kagermann shot back.

Reporter: "Well, does NetWeaver work with Oracle?"

Kagermann: "Yes"

Reporter: "Does Oracle know that?"

Kagermann: Something like: "Ask them."

The Computerworld reporter later said Oracle later issued a non-ambiguous"No" as to whether NetWeaver could work with Oracle.

This is the kind of spat that may erupt more often given the bad blood between these two companies.

Oracle, always one to tweak rivals, had people handing out black-and-white Oracle bags outside the show and various Atlanta hotels.

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