SAP denies choosing between Java and .Net

Business software maker SAP AG on Wednesday strongly denied a media report that it has decided to back the software development platform based on the Java programming language from Sun Microsystems Inc. over the .Net software platform from competitor Microsoft Corp.

"SAP has decided to use the Java language internally along with our own internal language, called ABAP. But it's important to distinguish that this is not a commercial decision: it doesn't mean that we won't support .Net. We will continue to support both Java and .Net. We are open in that respect," said SAP spokesman Gerhard Rickes.

Citing sources close to the company, the Financial Times (FT) newspaper reported on Tuesday that SAP, Europe's biggest software company, had decided to adopt Sun's J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) architecture as its development platform for enterprise software.

Microsoft has been challenging Sun's popularity as the vendor of choice for enterprise application development platforms, and its failure to woo a company the size of SAP would have been interpreted by the market as a serious setback for Microsoft.

"The FT story appears to be based on our decision to use Java internally, which is actually a fairly old story and something that we made public at the time. We would not choose between Java and .Net because, quite frankly, our customers would definitely not like it," Rickes said.

Sun and Microsoft have been in stiff competition to lure software developers to either Java or Windows, stressing that the Web services skills that developers are required to learn would lead them to choose one platform over the other, as opposed to learning both.

The FT report also stated that SAP Chief Executive Hasso Plattner was expected to make the announcement that it had chosen Java over .Net at the SAP TechEd 2001 conference in Los Angeles on Nov. 6.

While Rickes confirmed that Plattner will be speaking at the event, he stressed that the topic of Plattner's speech will be about the openness of SAP's Internet-based enterprise software. "We are going to talk about our infrastructure for e-business and we will not side with one side or another (when it comes to platforms). Like I said before, our customers wouldn't like that," Rickes said.

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