Nancy Weil of Computer World posted a piece on the top 10 predictions for the IT landscape in 2011. There are the expected bits about cloud computing, mobility, and tablets, but she also has a significant ERP pick:
IBM or HP will buy SAP
SAP is among the last big stand-alone business apps vendors; it's also the largest of that breed. It's getting harder and harder to stay independent these days, with the trend inexorably toward integration and consolidation. Oracle is building highly integrated systems from its own servers, database and hardware, and IBM and HP may need to do the same to compete. It would be a big change in strategy for IBM, but then the tech landscape has never looked quite like this. HP is now run by SAP's ex-CEO, Leo Apotheker, so he knows the business inside out.
SAP is also reeling from a US$1.3 billion verdict for corporate theft against Oracle, so its reputation is damaged and its online efforts are struggling.
We've seen this speculation before, but the timing of this seems mistaken to me. Yes, the Apotheker connection on paper looks like it might connect HP to such a purchase, but it's not like his time at SAP was wildly successful.
On the contrary, it's been no secret this year that SAP has seen quite a turnaround. While their reputation might currently be "damaged" compared to a previous level, it's certainly improving. If their reputation is improving and they have new productions slated, is that the right time to sell the company, particularly putting it in the hands of an executive whose tenure at the top of the company was rather rocky?
It's an interesting thought experiment though. What do you think? Will SAP be bought out by HP or IBM (or another company) this year?