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SAP unveils deals with Palm, IBM

The German software giant announces a slew of deals at the start of its e-business conference, including software and services pacts with the handheld maker and Big Blue.

    SAP announced a slew of deals Wednesday at its annual e-business conference, including partnerships with Palm and IBM that will increase the integration of their technology with the German software giant's applications and services.

    The company announced at its Sapphire '01 conference in Orlando, Fla., that it is teaming with Palm to offer its MySAP.com e-business software to mobile users through Palm's handheld computers. It also said it has expanded a partnership with IBM to make Big Blue the top provider of computer technology and services for SAP's Internet-based software.

    "We want to build our business around SAP," Steve Mills, IBM's software division chief, told reporters and analysts at the conference. Eventually, the entire IBM Global Services consulting staff will be trained to implement MySAP.com software to joint clients.

    The company's MySAP.com suite includes software that automates a customer's financial, human resources and manufacturing functions, as well as other applications that handle a company's customer call center, marketing efforts, online procurement and supply-chain needs.

    SAP and Santa Clara, Calif.-based Palm will jointly sell their integrated technology to companies as part of the deal and will develop mobile business applications based on the Palm operating system.

    Those using MySAP.com via Palm systems will be able to access business applications geared toward portals and management of customer relationships and supply chains.

    Financial details of the Palm deal were not disclosed.

    The expansion of the relationship with IBM will allow the combination of technology from the German company's subsidiaries SAP Portal and SAPMarkets with IBM software. The Armonk, N.Y.-based computing giant will license and combine SAP Portal technology with its WebSphere Portal Server as part of the deal. The markets unit will license the WebSphere server for its customers.

    IBM will also train much of its consulting work force to cover the entire MySAP.com e-business product line.

    The deal with IBM expands on a longstanding relationship and is based on SAP's traditional line of software products, called R/3, which predate the MySAP.com Internet push.

    Mills said that in the last year IBM has made more than $2 billion in revenue from its SAP partnership. The two companies are also making more investments in joint sales and joint marketing efforts, he said.

    "IBM is the go-to-market technology company in the services sector for (software) implementations--and in other areas, including middleware and database," said Joshua Greenbaum, an industry analyst who heads Enterprise Applications Consulting. "The IBM relationship will make a lot of SAP's competitors sit up and take notice."

    Financial details of the IBM deal also were not disclosed.

    SAP also said Wednesday that Royal Dutch/Shell Group has selected SAPMarkets to provide technology and services to build an online purchasing system for Shell. The agreement also calls for cooperation on a development project for data synchronization of Shell's back-end systems.

    News.com's Melanie Austria Farmer contributed to this report.