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SAP expands Web services alliances

The software maker signs another deal related to NetWeaver--a set of technologies SAP says will let firms link incompatible business systems and create easy-to-use software chunks.

German software maker SAP has signed a deal to embed and resell data management software from a private company.

SAP said Wednesday that its agreement is with New York-based MetaMatrix, the developer of a software program aimed at helping companies simultaneously fetch information from many data sources, from sales records to documents stored in e-mail servers.

The deal is one of several alliances SAP has forged recently as part of its NetWeaver initiative, unveiled last month. The company also set up agreements with IBM and Microsoft, promoting their software development and middleware tools for customizing SAP's applications.

The arrangement between SAP and MetaMatrix is a bit cozier than those other deals, as it calls for SAP to embed MetaMatrix Server within SAP NetWeaver.

SAP is touting NetWeaver as a set of technologies that will give companies the tools to link incompatible business systems and create smaller chunks of software that are less of a hassle to set up than traditional applications. The new products are supposed to employ Web services technology, an emerging set of Internet protocols touted by nearly every business software maker as the future of the software industry.

Further terms of the deal were not made public.

MetaMatrix competes in an emerging area of database technology called "federated data management." Such technology, which is also in development at IBM, BEA Systems, Microsoft, Nimble Technology and Oracle, lets people query data from many incompatible systems, rapidly consolidate the results and make them available, for instance, to workers in customer-support call centers, which routinely need to access data from different sources.

SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, makes one of the most popular business-management programs for automating bookkeeping, human resources and manufacturing.