Apotheker to run SAP again?

What are HP’s strategic plans?

So Leo Apotheker, former head of SAP AG, replaces Mark Hurd at HP. Mr Apotheker has a background in software, but was chosen over a large number of candidates with far more relevant experience and caught many observers on the back foot.

But here at Vox Sapiens we were not at all surprised. In fact, we half suspected it because the most sensible response to Oracle’s purchase of Sun Microsystems is for HP to buy SAP.

Why?

Oracle is going to push its enterprise software customers towards Sun hardware, squeezing a substantial source of revenue for HP.

The other major enterprise software vendor is SAP. And if HP doesn’t buy SAP, somebody else will. If it can get through anti-trust, IBM would derive a great benefit from owning SAP. Microsoft has been rumored many times to be considering a bid. And SAP might also rejuvenate Unisys.

The days of software companies, hardware companies and services companies is over. The big players all need a substantial presence in all three areas. Software sales lead to hardware and services sales. Hardware, in particular, is becoming commoditized, and virtualization is only exacerbating the problem. There remains some argument for a separate, independent services supplier, but the days of a standalone hardware supplier are almost over.

HP needs SAP. And at Vox Sapiens we believe that this is one reason why HP has chosen Leo Apotheker. He doesn’t have the track record over the internal candidates leading the major divisions in HP. But he knows software, and in particular, SAP, extremely well. Who is better placed to lead an acquisition of SAP?

And is SAP aware of this? You bet. The Sybase acquisition, although strategically flawed, is just the first stage of a fat man defense to remain independent. We can expect further acquisitions soon.

One single comment

  1. TheVoice says:

    Update from VoxSapiens: On an analyst conference call on Friday 1st October, Apotheker stated that software will become more of a focus at HP.

    “I believe … that HP should be more valuable than the sum of its parts, and in order to make that happen, we all believe … that software is sort of the glue to make that happen,” he said.

    This only confirms our previous comments.

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