Bloomberg News

SAP Said to Partner Samsung to Push Corporate Use of Android

February 28, 2012

(Updates with Samsung comment in fifth paragraph.)

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- SAP AG and Samsung Electronics Co. are teaming up to make mobile devices running Google Inc.’s Android operating system safer to use as corporate tools, according to people familiar with the matter.

SAP, the largest maker of enterprise-management software, and Suwon, Korea-based Samsung will present their plans next week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, said the people, who declined to be named because the details aren’t public. The cooperation will include e-mail encryption as well as making handsets compatible with device-management systems that remotely update software and can operate phone functions such as switching the camera on and off, one of the people said.

The partnership is SAP’s first deal of this kind with a maker of Android phones and follows agreements with Research in Motion Ltd. for the BlackBerry platform and Apple Inc. for iPhone and iPad devices. Samsung, which was the second-biggest smartphone manufacturer behind Apple in the fourth quarter, is aiming to sell more handsets to corporate clients after the Android platform became the most popular operating system for smartphones. The company’s mobile-device portfolio includes the Galaxy Nexus smartphone and the Galaxy Tab 10.1N.

“Companies need more pre-configured tablets and smartphones which comply with their advanced security requirements,” said Ulrich Trabert, a software analyst at Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt who has a “sell” recommendation on SAP. “Naturally, SAP is looking for a partner who is dominant on the Android platform.”

Pick Your Device

Samsung spokesman Jason Kim confirmed that the two companies will make a joint announcement in Barcelona, but declined to give details. A spokesman for Walldorf, Germany- based SAP declined to comment.

Samsung rose 1.4 percent to 1,197,000 won in Seoul trading today. SAP shares declined 0.8 percent to 49.25 euros as of 10:13 a.m. in Frankfurt.

Handset manufacturers benefit from the so-called consumerization of information technology, in which people use technology gadgets for both personal and work tasks, and as more companies allow employees to pick their mobile device of choice.

SAP added technology to help bring its software onto smartphones and tablets by acquiring Sybase Inc. in 2010 for $5.8 billion. Growth in revenue from mobile applications is part of the German company’s strategy to exceed 20 billion euros ($26.5 billion) in annual revenue in 2015.

Apple passed Samsung to become the world’s biggest smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter on surging sales of its iPhone, researcher Gartner Inc. said this month. Google’s Android software ran on more than half of all smartphones sold.

Global sales of such handsets that can handle business e- mail and streaming video increased 47 percent to 149 million units, according to Gartner.

--Editors: Kenneth Wong, Simon Thiel

To contact the reporters on this story: Cornelius Rahn in Frankfurt at crahn2@bloomberg.net; Jonathan Browning in London at jbrowning9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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