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Union of the giants: SAP and MS

Microsoft and leading client-server application vendor SAP joined their considerable forces today in an alliance intended to create more business applications that exploit the Internet.

Microsoft and leading client-server application vendor SAP joined their considerable forces today in an alliance intended to create more business applications that exploit the Internet.

The German company has created an application programming interface, called Business API, to connect any Web client to back-end business systems. It committed today to using BAPI to build on Microsoft's new ActiveX architecture and other Internet technologies such as the Internet Information Server, merchant server, and the Internet Explorer browser.

Although the two companies haven't provided many details, SAP will make a powerful ally for Microsoft in the business community. SAP has an 8 percent market share in the client-server application market, more than three times the business of its nearest competitor, according to International Data Corporation.

Afraid that the Internet-intranet phenomena will make their products obsolete, many client-server companies are searching for ways to integrate Internet technologies into their software. SAP, for example, also previewed an Internet version of the company's R/3 back-end system today at the CeBIT conference in Hannover, Germany.