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1) Magician Loses Its Sparkling Touch: SAP, Europe's largest software maker, had been doing so well this year that it was starting to look more like the work of black magic than skilful management. That, at least, was the impression until recently when it became the last sizeable player in its devastated sector to issue a profit warning. No longer under the spell, analysts are now wondering whether the warning was a blip or the prelude to more serious problems for the German group. At the very least, they say, the episode has pointed to serious weaknesses that must be addressed quickly. One of them lies in SAP's handling of its last results announcement, which not only irritated investors but also fanned fears the group may have lost "visibility" on developments in its market...As Mr Ashton puts it: "You can have the biggest firework in the world, it is no good if you do not have the audience."


2) SAP Chooses Sun Micro Platform Over Microsoft : SAP, Europe's biggest software group, has decided not to use Microsoft's .Net software platform and is instead backing a competing offering from Sun Microsystems. Hasso Plattner, SAP chief executive, will announce next week that the German group is to adopt Sun's J2EE architecture, a development platform for enterprise software based on the Java programming language, to run SAP software. SAP's move is likely to be a blow to Microsoft, as the German group has one of the largest customer bases of any business software developer.



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