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SAP and Microsoft link up

The project, code named Mendocino, will link Microsoft's Office products to SAP's ERP systems.

Two of the world's largest software makers are teaming up to link their products together.

Microsoft and Germany's SAP AG announced today that they are developing a new product, code-named Mendocino, which will tie together Microsoft Office with SAP's business applications.

Available in the fourth quarter of this year, Mendocino is designed to integrate SAP processes, such as budget monitoring and organizational management, and travel into Microsoft Office. For example, users will be able to retrieve SAP information through Microsoft Excel or enter data into SAP systems through Microsoft Outlook.

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The announcement was made at SAP's SAPPHIRE customer conference being held in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week. Mendocino is perhaps the most significant result of failed merger talks that took place last year, and were revealed during the antitrust trial over Oracle Corp.'s takeover of PeopleSoft Inc.

The companies have agreed to resell each other's applications, with SAP selling Microsoft Office and Microsoft selling SAP's business process platform available in 2006.

While the cross-sales efforts are new, integration between the two tech giants is not.

"I don't see this as that big a deal. They've basically productized something they've been doing for a long time," said Chris Selland, principal analyst at Boston-based Covington Associates.

According to SAP, more than 46,000 SAP installations run on Microsoft Windows, more than all other platforms combined.

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