The spotlight is on SAP at the moment to respond to Voice's antitrust concerns. [shutterstock: 518263006, Boris Rabtsevich]

The spotlight is on SAP at the moment to respond to Voice's antitrust concerns. [shutterstock: 518263006, Boris Rabtsevich]

SAP’s New Licensing Strategy

It is becoming ever more clear that in spring of 2019, SAP will publish a third version of its Digital Access/Indirect Access pricing model, in the hopes that the disgruntled user companies and Voice will be pleased and silently retreat.

At least, that is the conclusion of Stefan Autengruber, Managing Director of License Ethics, in his analysis of SAP’s new pricing list in the most recent issue of E-3 Magazine. Before License Ethics, Autengruber was Commercial Director in SAP’s pricing department for ten years. Therefore, Autengruber is intimately familiar with SAP’s licensing strategy.

He noticed that in the new pricing list, there is a product listed that does not (yet) exist: SAP OpenHub for S/4 Hana. This new position in SAP’s pricing list does only make sense if SAP revises its Indirect Access model, according to Autengruber. Away from a document-based billing and towards a transaction-oriented one.

This would mean that every external access is to be licensed, but the exchange of data would be free of charge, Autengruber speculates. This new version of the model will be way cheaper than the document-based one previously expected. However, there are many other ways in which SAP could redesign its Indirect Access model.

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Antitrust concerns

It is also becoming ever more clear that SAP might have revised this licensing model due to Voice’s antitrust concerns. A legal opinion of an independent law firm stated that the SAP Indirect Access model as well as the second version, digital access, are not in compliance with the law.

A quick explanation for the licensing layman: Voice raised concerns about the pricing model Indirect Access back when the corresponding price list was first released. This then lead to an antitrust appeal from Voice. SAP retaliated with a new pricing list where it redefined Indirect Access as Digital Access. Voice evaluated this new model and came to the same conclusion. Consequently, it drew up another antitrust appeal. SAP has been alarmingly silent in the last months regarding this.

That might be the reason that SAP has asked its pricing specialists for a third time to draw up a new licensing model in the hopes that this one will lead to fewer complaints and lawsuits as well as keep the antitrust authorities at bay.

If the new model complies with German and European law remains to be seen. However, not only Voice should evaluate this new model and keep SAP in check, but also the antitrust authorities!

What is already certain, however, is this: When SAP is faced with criticism and tangible arguments from Voice, they will be sure to do something. If they will do enough is a different question.

About Voice

As an association, Voice represents the interests of digital decision-makers and users in German-speaking countries. It makes the voices of its more than 400 members heard by politicians, IT solution providers and the public. Voice understands itself as the spokesperson for user interests. The federal association therefore develops and represents positions and assessments on current trends, political initiatives and projects of IT providers.

As a network, Voice brings together CIOs and IT managers from leading companies in a wide variety of industries. The network offers its members platforms for confidential exchange and for meetings with decision-makers in the market – such as roundtables and specialist workshops, but also online on an exclusive online platform. In both functions, as an association and as a network, Voice focuses on the interests of the user companies. The association’s primary goal is to further strengthen the competitiveness of member companies through digital technologies.

 

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