SAP to offer corporate apps on iPhone

Business management software giant is working with database provider Sybase to help corporate users access applications on smartphones like the iPhone.

Corporate software makers SAP and Sybase are teaming up to make it easier for business users to access SAP's software on mobile devices such as Apple's iPhone.

SAP, which is the world's biggest maker of business management software, is already working with Research In Motion to develop applications for the BlackBerry. But now SAP says it will extend its software to other devices like the iPhone.

Sybase, which provides database software to large companies, already sells programs that let users access corporate applications and information on their mobile devices. But now it says it will work closely with SAP to customize the software.

"It's true we can already get you to SAP on mobile devices," John Chen, chairman, CEO and president of Sybase, said during a press conference in New York City. "But it doesn't work very well. It is very clunky. We need to get with the SAP engineers to make sure that the experience will be a rewarding one for customers."

Initially, the companies plan to focus development efforts on the iPhone, RIM's BlackBerry, and phones running Microsoft Windows Mobile. But eventually they will provide support for other mobile platforms.

Bill McDermott, president of Global Field Operations for SAP and a member of the SAP executive board, said during the press conference that SAP sees big opportunity for taking its business applications mobile throughout the world. The goal is to help companies make their workforce more productive while away from the office. He said many companies have already started coming up with their own solutions. But the work with Sybase will allow SAP to offer a solution that is easy to implement.

"The big breakthrough here is that we are offering this solution out-of-the-box," he said. "We are handling all the integration for you."

Smartphones are the fastest growing segment of the mobile phone market . And devices, such as the iPhone, have made consumers aware of how applications and software can be used on a mobile device. Apple has also made it easy to purchase and download applications through its App Store. Other companies such as RIM, Microsoft, Google, and Nokia, have followed Apple's lead and are launching their own application stores .

It's little surprise that corporate applications would be bubbling to the top of the list of applications users are interested in, especially as people's work life and home life become more intertwined.

 

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