JavaOne: Apps industry under threat says SAP chief

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The software industry needs to build its own tower of Babel in order to break down the technology differences created by Microsoft, Sun and Oracle, according to Hasso Plattner, co-chairman of SAP.

Speaking at the Java One jamboree in San Francisco, Plattner said that it was difficult to develop applications that would work together regardless of whose hardware they run on or what language was used to write them. If this state continued, then the applications industry would not flourish and a few big names would be able to dominate.

"This industry will not survive in the next 20 years with applications built by a few big companies," he warned"This industry will only survive if there is a community of developers building applications that can work together across many systems.

"With software, we have a problem. We, the vendors, always want to do it better than the other guy. SAP is no different from anyone else in this respect, but we have to overcome this. We have to develop standards so we can port what we develop on system X onto system Y with relatively little effort."

"What this community has to do to be strong and to be a relevant partner is to stick together and work on these standards so software can become a standard component like a jet engine is part of jet or a gear box is part of a car. That has to be the philosophy of our industry in the future. The alternative is that the United Nations decides that the world goes Microsoft. This is a realistic threat. I was not able to convince Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer to join this club."

Ironically the company used a proprietary code called ABAP to develop its own applications, but SAP has more recently introduced some applications that operate on a combination of Java and ABAP application servers.

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