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SAP Wraps Up Business Objects Buy, Unveils Joint Products

Companies vow against forcing channel partners into a one-size-fits-all program.

Declaring its $6.8 billion acquisition of business intelligence software vendor Business Objects to be complete, SAP Wednesday wasted no time in leveraging its expanded software portfolio by debuting nine products that combine technology from both companies.

SAP has acquired 87 percent of Business Objects' shares and has begun integrating various elements of the two companies, SAP CEO Henning Kagermann said in a press conference Wednesday. Business Objects will become a critical element of SAP's "business user applications" product line.

SAP and Business Objects executives touted the synergies of their two product sets and the opportunities for each company's channel partners. The combined partner "ecosystems," which total some 6,000 solution providers, become "a formidable engine for complementary solutions and complementary routes to market," said John Schwarz, Business Objects' CEO, who will continue to lead the company as an SAP business unit.

While the executives said they would provide SAP and Business Objects partners with a single point of contact for working with the combined companies, they also promised not to force SAP and Business Objects solution providers into a single program. SAP deputy CEO Leo Apotheker also said that Business Objects would continue to sell its BusinessObjects Edge line of mid-market products through channel partners.

Schwarz said Business Objects, while aligning itself with SAP's organization and technology, remained committed to developing its products to run with software from vendors other than SAP and supporting Business Objects customers who are not SAP customers. "We are very committed to the idea of an open ecosystem," he said.

When asked whether SAP could make additional acquisitions, Kagermann said SAP's overall philosophy is to grow "organically," but he would not rule out acquisitions that provide SAP with opportunities for growth.

The nine new products combining SAP and Business Objects technology include packages for financial performance management and governance, risk and compliance; a visualization and reporting tool; an enterprise query, reporting and analysis package; master data services; a data integration and data quality management application; Crystal Reports Server; the BusinessObjects Edge Series; and a combination of the Edge tools with SAP Business All-in-One applications.

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