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SAP entices Siebel customers with big discounts

SAP hopes to profit from "uncertainties" about Oracle's buyout of rival software maker Siebel Systems.

SAP has begun offering software discounts to companies that switch from Siebel Systems to SAP's competing set of business applications.

SAP's so-called "safe passage" program is aimed at companies worried about future support and development for Siebel customer information systems after the company's impending acquisition by Oracle.

As part of the offer, SAP said it will give Siebel customers in the United States a credit of up to 75 percent of their Siebel licensing fees toward the purchase of comparable SAP software. Data conversion tools, implementation services and training are also available.

"The new offering from SAP provides safe passage to companies grappling with the uncertainties arising from Siebel's pending acquisition by Oracle Corporation and the resulting challenges these customers may face," SAP said in a statement.

SAP, a German company, introduced similar discounts and services to PeopleSoft customers when Oracle acquired that company earlier this year. SAP has since extended the offer to companies running software from J.D. Edwards and Retek, both of which Oracle now owns.

Oracle is on a mission to surpass SAP as the world's largest supplier of business automation software, which encompasses an array of programs for accounting, purchasing, order taking and sales. Oracle's strategy is to expand via acquisition, and it has swallowed some of its biggest business automation rivals this year.

Oracle customers recently expressed mild concern over those acquisitions and the company's ability to manage them, but customers don't appear to be bolting to the competition just yet.