Does this mean SAP may now cite HANAs poor performance as its next defence?
Hard to dismiss that.
SAP has failed to have a copyright infringement and antitrust lawsuit lodged against it by Teradata thrown out. Teradata claimed the German giant disingenuously entered into a joint venture to steal trade secrets, and then exploited its position in the ERP market to lock customers into SAP products. In its motion to dismiss, …
Not only did Microsoft not steal anything from Sybase, it (quietly) paid pretty good licensing revenues to Sybase for years at a time when Sybase was on the ropes – it probably saved Sybase from going under in the mid/late 90s.
Sybase may have even been one of the few companies that actually bested MS in a licensing deal. MS was shopping around to buy database source code to get a head start on their in-house DBMS (now MS SQL Server). It was the height of the “SQL wars” – which DBMS’s SQL dialect & stored proc language would become dominant. Sybase was reasonably worried that PL-SQL (Oracle) would take over, and front-end tools would stop supporting Sybase SQL Server; getting MS to clone Sybase SQL Server (for a price) would be a big insurance policy.
But just as important, and unknown to MS, Sybase had already concluded that Sybase SQL Server 4.x code had reached the end of the road – it was hyper-tuned for single-cpu/single-core systems, and some major pieces needed a complete rewrite to work well on newer many-CPU machines. Sybase insiders guessed it would take MS 2-3 years of tinkering to realize they had bought dead-end source code, and in fact it took MS even longer - about 5 years - to realize they needed to rewrite the transaction engine from the ground up.
So Sybase got $10s of millions in yearly license revenue when they were having financial troubles, they got another big vendor to push their SQL dialect, and while MS got a big head start in producing their own DBMS, at the same time MS was possibly delayed years in developing a high-performance DBMS that would directly compete with Sybase.
So no, MS did not rip anything off, and (contrary to most MS deals) Sybase did pretty well.
(Much of that was info from a Sybase marketing exec I had dinner with back in 1996 or 1997.)
Unless I have a very faulty memory of what I was told, the agreement was quite straightforward - a copy of the source code for $x, and a fee per MS database license sold for y years.
Contrary to some claims I have seen made over the years, there was not any Sybase+MS joint code development (it was forked from day 1), and they never sold each others' products from some shared code base, so I cannot think of any reason for a disagreement over revenue cuts. Maybe there was some sharing of bug fixes for a while, but the only joint development I remember, which lasted 5-10 years, was to try to keep the SQL dialects in sync.
When SAP launched HANA back in 2011, it was marketed as a High performance ANalytic Appliance. In other words, a competitor to Teradata. But HANA was never a threat to Teradata because the product was both over-priced and had serious design and performance problems for years. Then SAP decided to FORCE HANA on customers by making it mandatory for ERP to the exclusion of other vendors like Teradata. That's anti-competitive and is bad for customers and the market.
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