Microsoft and SAP are promising customers faster, cheaper and easier integration of core business applications by improving integration between SAP NetWeaver and Microsoft .Net.
The companies said jointly developed systems would enhance access to SAP NetWeaver functionality for developers using Microsoft Visual Studio .Net, and increase the interoperability between SAP products and the Microsoft Office System.
Support for .Net web services will be built into SAP's Enterprise Services Architecture.
SAP chief executive Henning Kagermann said in a statement: "For thousands of shared customers, the value proposition of web services will continue to be enhanced by the deepening technology integration between SAP and Microsoft."
Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft, added: "Using web services to connect the critical business information and processes in SAP NetWeaver with the power and productivity of Microsoft .Net will give our mutual customers a key competitive edge."
SAP will begin a beta programme for its Enterprise Portal SDK for Microsoft .Net this summer. This will allow developers who currently use the ASP .Net programming model to customise SAP systems on Windows using Visual Studio .Net as a development environment.
Development work aims to provide SAP NetWeaver support for advanced web services protocols, with the next version of NetWeaver having interoperability with Microsoft BizTalk Server.
SAP NetWeaver support for Microsoft smart client technology will also be developed, allowing developers to implement smart client access to SAP systems from Microsoft Office System applications and Visual Studio 2005.
The two firms also promised tighter integration between SAP NetWeaver, Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services, through Microsoft repository managers. These are expected to be available in early 2005.
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