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Analyst: Sun shines with SAPMarkets deal

A new deal with SAP opens the door for Sun to offer pre-configured SAPMarkets' online exchange MarketSet software on Solaris. An analyst calls the agreement a win-win situation.

Man cannot live on Windows NT alone. Palo Alto, Calif.-based SAPMarkets Inc, the online exchange offshoot of German software giant SAP, and Sun Microsystems Inc., also based in Palo Alto, know this.

The companies have announced a global strategic agreement, where Sun will offer SAPMarkets' MarketSet software on the Unix platform.

Sun and SAPMarkets will collaborate on joint marketing, sales and business development. SAPMarkets is also part of Sun's Global iForce Program, which integrates Sun hardware, software and services for Sun's customers. The products and services that come out of the iForce Program offer methodologies, open standards such as Java and configurations to improve business processes, Sun said.

Analysts see a bright outlook on the horizon for the agreement. "By going with the Solaris platform, SAP can improve scalability and reliability over the NT-based solution," said Lance Travis, service director of the SAP Practice at Boston-based AMR Research.

Customers of SAPMarkets will be offered more of a choice of operating systems, and if SAPMarkets and Sun go beyond just a marketing agreement, there is the opportunity for Sun employees to be better trained on the MarketSet software, he said. In essence, this opens the door for Sun to offer pre-configured MarketSet software on Solaris.

Travis doesn't see any drawbacks to the agreement. "For SAP, it was in their best interest to move beyond the NT platform. For Sun, the more relationships they have, the more attractive their platform becomes," he said.

Companies are already seeing the benefits of the agreement. Atlanta-based ForestExpress, an e-commerce software and services provider for the forest products industry, announced that it will operate its own e-marketplace offering with MarketSet on the Solaris operating environment. This will be the first Unix implementation of MarketSet. The migration to Solaris is expected to be finished by mid-2001.


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