It seems that Google has decided to take a new turn in the competition by abandoning Oracle’s finance software and turning to SAP.
This news is a blow to the leaders of Oracle who lose not only one of their biggest partners, but also the lawsuit which opposed them to the giant Google.
If you’ve never heard of Oracle, it’s a relational database management system that initially offered its services to several large corporations. SAP meanwhile is an integrated management software publisher which also provides management databases to facilitate the access process and share various kinds of information within an organisation. The two companies have a good reputation in their field of activity and are competitors in the same market. But after a landmark copyright case brought to court, the business relationship between Google and Oracle has deteriorated.
Google turns to SAP
The competition in the Cloud market is getting stronger every year. Companies are so focused on developing their own software solution that they forget the possibility of partnering with each other. This is why the market is filling more and more with various software and solutions that are not always successful. As an example, it is easy to take the case of Amazon. They slowly but surely made a transition from Oracle software to focus on a cloud service of their own. It would seem then that Google is following this same path by following in the footsteps of Amazon. They stopped using Oracle’s finance software by turning to a new structure, SAP (Systems, Applications and Products).
In the context of Google Cloud Next, Google therefore made a public partnership announcement. After terminating some of its agreements with Oracle, Google this time turned to SAP to deliver SAP HANA, its last in-memory database. The latter will be included in the Google Cloud platform.
This news has caused a lot of talk and is far from going unnoticed. This craze has taken place for a number of reasons. The first of these reasons is the fact that this action gives Google a significant customer who will benefit from the promotion of its Cloud, which is one of the objectives of this manoeuvre. Second, this news caused a lot of noise, because by this act Google is making itself an established partner of choice in the world of software companies. It may be able to attract other companies and try to expand its Google Cloud platform.
SAP is the world leader in terms of ERP software. It helps different companies to manage services related to new technologies, finances, and even human resources. Initially, it was mainly software available on site. However, over the years, SAP began to publish and ship software that was also accessible in the cloud for customers who did not want to deal with the complexity of using this kind of software.
It’s important to keep in mind that SAP is so extensive that it even has its own cloud database. But this database gives customers different options. In addition, the fact that this company has chosen the Google Cloud is news that must have been greeted with great joy within Google. The latter at the time was very far behind other companies such as AWS or Azure in infrastructure as a service market. In 2014, it happened that SAP had to work with both Microsoft and AWS.
An interesting turning point in this agreement is that it allows SAP to remain the custodian of the data present inside the cloud. This means that SAP retains responsibility for the individual data despite the fact that the latter is used in the Google Cloud. This is a huge barrier less for many customers who might have been reluctant to switch to Cloud because of Google’s lack of governance knowledge in this area.
But we must all the same highlight the fact that Google is not the only one to benefit from the conditions of this agreement. As Ray Wang, Founder and Senior Analyst at Constellation Research, explained, it’s important for SAP to distribute its HANA database to as many platforms as it can access. And among these platforms, we can note IBM, AWS, Oracle, Microsoft and of course Google. He even added that by being part of the Google Cloud project, SAP will benefit from more knowledge about its next investments. This is again only a first step for the company.
The Google vs. Oracle case
10 years ago, Oracle launched accusations against Google. The company accuses the group of having broken copyright rules by copying the sequential and organisational structure of 37 Java APIs (Application Programming Interface) for Android. Google defended itself against these accusations by asserting that APIs are like letters constituting the alphabet of a language, they are the basic elements of creating a programme. The case was therefore brought before the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled on facts which were however already well known to programmers: APIs cannot be strictly protected by copyright.
Ironically, during the 90s, both Oracle and Sun, both original owners of Java, were explicitly saying that APIs should not be copyrighted. But that was then . Now, for the past decade to be more precise, Oracle has desperately tried to cover up the failed purchase of Sun by trying to get $9 billion from Google for using the Java APIs for Android.
After a long legal battle between Oracle and Google, a US Supreme Court ruling in October 2020 allowed Google to legally use Java APIs. In this decision 6-2 of the American Supreme Court, the latter specifies that Google can use what it needs to use and install the material.
In this case, Oracle complained about the illegal copying of approximately 11,500 lines of Java code. For them, Google violated copyright by using not only the structure, but also the sequence and organisation of their APIs. But now Google is free to use these Java APIs for Android in a completely legal way. And even more important for the entire software development industry, it will now become quite difficult to claim copyright in APIs in general.