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Reader Feedback Friday: Microsoft and Business Intelligence

Let's rip right into reader e-mails in this Friday edition. The big news this week was SAP's planned buyout of Business Objects (say it as a subject and verb, and suddenly it's a pretty funny name), which had us pondering whether Microsoft might make a big business intelligence purchase of its own.

Peter, who would certainly have Gold E-Mailer status by now if we had such a thing, says that BO makes a lot of sense for SAP...but that Microsoft has bigger things to worry about:

"We are in the Microsoft BI space and have some idea of the competition. BO as a front-end to SAP is a great idea. The SAP BI is complete, rigid rubbish. We always regarded BO, as the name suggests, as a fairly mediocre product. They got to sell so much because of their very aggressive sales folk who misled the customers. Similarly, Cognos is full of bugs and not a particularly good product either. Microsoft already has better products than both BO and Cognos.

"Microsoft, unfortunately, will shoot themselves in the foot with their very heavy BI offering, PerformancePoint Server. Don't forget, Microsoft is an SAP customer and already has all kinds of BI interfaces to SAP. The far more serious competitor for Microsoft is Oracle. They acquired brilliant BI when they bought Siebel. That is now called Oracle BI Enterprise and much better than BO or Cognos."

Jeff's also talking about Oracle...and he's got a very expensive proposition for Microsoft.

"I think SAP's acquisition now gives INFOR and Oracle's strategy credibility. What I mean is in today's ERP marketplace, it's cheaper and much less time-consuming to BUY customers than go out and get them the hard way.

"SAP has been acquiring companies for quite some time; however, it has been doing so under the radar. Guess there was no point in trying to hide this acquisition.

"Microsoft should put an end to all this misery and just acquire SAP like previously planned. I think the combined value of Microsoft + SAP is more than separate."

The combined value of Microsoft and SAP would be massive, even staggering -- as would the resulting problems with integration and cultural fit. Plus, we're not sure that federal regulators would let that acquisition pass. Microsoft and SAP as one company...we're going to have to lie down for a while. Just the thought is exhausting and more than a little scary.

Thanks to Peter and Jeff for their thoughts. Even though I'll be away next week, keep your comments coming to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on October 12, 2007 at 11:54 AM


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