April 25, 2005 2:28 PM PDT

SAP expands push for Oracle customers

SAP took a fresh jab at software rival Oracle on Monday with an expanded plan to lure away customers Oracle gained in its acquisition of PeopleSoft.

SAP said it will open offices in Amsterdam, Singapore, and Reading, England, to supply software maintenance and support services at a discount to former customers of PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards. The company began offering this "safe passage" service in the United States in January just after Oracle's completed its contentious $10 billion buyout of PeopleSoft.

Monday's move is the latest in an escalating rivalry between SAP and Oracle, the top suppliers of software that automates accounting, customer service, purchasing, staffing and other business tasks. SAP dominates the multi-billion dollar market, but Oracle is fighting back by acquiring rivals and revamping its technology.

SAP is not standing still either. In response to the PeopleSoft deal, SAP acquired TomorrowNow, a Texas start-up specializing in PeopleSoft services. Those services form the basis of the company's safe-passage initiative, a program aimed at siphoning off valuable software maintenance revenue from Oracle and persuading Oracle customers to switch software providers.

An SAP spokesperson would not disclose how many companies have signed up for the safe-passage service, but said the initiative helped it expand its share of the market in the first quarter.

"Oracle has their hands full," SAP spokesman Bill Wohl said. "We're going to keep the pressure on Oracle as we always have."

SAP announced the global expansion of the TomorrowNow service in Copenhagen where it's holding its annual Sapphire convention this week.


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