Despite reassurances to customers and partners that it will not go down the Microsoft-only route, SAP can provide only open-ended promises that it will develop Unix versions of NT products.
All new product development at SAP is now done on the Windows platform, which means that the first incarnations of its much-hyped New Dimension products - including customer relationship management, supply chain management, data warehousing and Ecommerce - are available first on NT.
SAP has kept Unix customers and partners in the dark, not knowing when, or if, the products will be available on Unix platforms like HP-UX, Solaris and AIX.
"We want to reassure customers that Unix is still in our headlights," SAP told PC Week last week.
"At least 50% of SAP licences sold are on the NT platform - customers would seem to like it the most. But the general intention is to port to Unix," the SAP spokesman said.
SAP has announced more than 15 modules within the New Dimension portfolio, but so far just one, the Business Information Warehouse, has been ported to the Unix platform.
The second version of advanced planner and optimiser will be ported to Unix, scheduled for the end of 1999, one year after the NT version. Unix versions of the other modules, including business-to-business and customer relationship management products, are planned, "although there are no concrete dates," the spokesman said.
SAP has been very tight-lipped about its commitment to the Unix platform.
SAP's partners - hardware partners such as Sun, consulting partners like Cap Gemini and KPMG and reseller partners such as Team One to One - were unable to confirm what SAP's intentions are.
Industry analysts have also been kept in the dark. IDC's director of software, Anne-Lisa Wang, could only speculate that the attraction of the Microsoft platform was an alternative database to arch-rival Oracle.
She also described SAP's plans to resell Software AG's database, Abadas D, as an anti-Oracle move.
"There are two main advantages of making NT (the primary development platform)," said David Flawn, vice president of NT marketing at Data General.
"Visual Basic and C++ enrich the user environment to an extent that never existed in Unix, (and) allow SAP to go into new markets."
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