SAP to support .Net tools

Business-software maker SAP AG will support Microsoft Corp.'s .Net platform in its product line, as a further step in its move toward open standards, the Walldorf, Germany-based company announced here Wednesday.

The company will provide a portal development kit for .Net as well as for the J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) standard used by numerous third-party developers, and supported by recent versions of IBM Corp.'s WebSphere. That will enable developers familiar with those environments to integrate with SAP's Web Application Server, said Henning Kagermann, the company's chief executive officer and co-chairman.

The SAP Web Application Server supporting .Net and J2EE will be available in the second quarter of this year, the company said.

The German company made waves last year when it announced that it would support Java rather than .Net. But Kagermann brushed aside suggestions that SAP had overcome disagreements with Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft in order to make Wednesday's announcement.

"The partnership with Microsoft is as strong as it was always," he said. "The overlap in businesses where we compete is so small that it's not affecting our partnership."