SAP: We love SaaS! No, we hate it! It will kill us! It's salvation!

SAP is under attack by SaaS, but it's apparently not a threat. Or might be. Or isn't. Or something. Hasso Plattner, SAP's chairman, explains it all. Or doesn't. Or wishes he could. Or something.

Will the real SAP please stand up? I'm not sure about you, but I'm having a hard time following the quadruple backflip with a twist that the company has been doing about SaaS/on-demand computing.

Displaying true Clinton-esque talents, SAP's chairman, Hasso Plattner, backtracked on previous comments that suggested that he was picking out a coffin for SAP. He first said this:

This model [SaaS] will compete with our current model, and 99% of our installations are on site.

Astute readers may infer from this that SaaS portends Bad Things for SAP. Or that the company's own SaaS offerings might negatively impact its core, on-premise business. Those astute readers would be wrong(!!!), said Plattner after the fact:

At no point in my speech did I mention the project code name A1S [SAP's new SaaS offering for mid-sized businesses]. Nor did I make a statement that our new software will cannibalize our existing customer base or our established products or that it will compete with our current business model.

Of course not. It's a disruptive technology that will compete with 99% of SAP's businesses, but it's only a threat to...everyone else. I see. Oh, well. Best be getting back to the cave , Mr. Plattner. Nice shadows on the wall to look at in there.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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