SAP, IBM expand alliance to include e-business

German software maker SAP AG and IBM Corp. have agreed to extend their existing relationship to include SAP's electronic-business platform MySAP.com, IBM said Wednesday.

The deal, which SAP plans to announce later Wednesday at the kickoff of its Sapphire conference in Orlando, extends the 20-year-old ties between the two companies and was crafted to provide better integrated electronic-business products, according to an IBM statement.

IBM will license technology from SAP Portals Inc., a subsidiary of SAP that contributes to the MySAP.com platform, and will retrain consultants to provide advice and services around SAP's products. In turn, SAP Markets, which makes marketplace and procurement software, is licensing IBM's WebSphere middleware.

With the announcement, IBM and SAP have also found each other on the business-to-business electronic-commerce front. IBM had alienated itself from SAP in that area by teaming with e-business application vendors i2 Technologies Inc. and Ariba Inc., two of SAP's principal rivals. That alliance, however, is likely to end this year, Ariba and i2 have said.

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