With Oracle and SAP pitted against each other and Oracle turning in some impressive results for Q3 in September, everyone was waiting to see what SAP’s figures would produce. The figures show a profit after tax of US$ 697 million (€501 million), up 12% from Q3 last year, along with a few noteworthy comments.

While SAP stocks lost out following the release of the figures, as the German giant failed to meet analysts’ expectations, co-CEO Bill MacDermot was upbeat and said he was looking forward to next year’s release of Oracle’s Fusions apps.

SAP said it had missed expectations because of costs associated with the Sybase acquisition, which appeared on the books in the third quarter, as well as increased provisions for its law suit with Oracle of US$ 160 million.

Like Autonomy last week, which released solid Q3 figures even though they had downgraded their sales forecasts earlier this month and suffered on the stock markets as a result, SAP has put on a good show. Highlights of the quarter include:

  • Software revenues up 15% to $902 million.
  • Total software and software-related services revenues increased 13% to US$ 3.23 billion
  • Quarterly profits were up 12% to US$ 689 million (shy 9% of analysts’ expectations)

SAP's Performance

No one, however, would say exactly how much Sybase made for SAP over the quarter, but SAP (news, site ) seems happy. Werner Brandt, CFO of SAP said that overall they were happy with their growth over the quarter “and with the performance of Sybase”.

While SAP’s other co-CEO Jim Hagemann-Snabe could not be drawn on how he expected Business ByDesign, its SaaS business management suite, to perform in the coming months, he did say that SAP had doubled its target market as a result of a number of factors including growth in emerging markets, the US, and the release of the SaaS suite. He also said SAP hopes to expand its vertical markets and partner ecosystem .

SAP and Oracle

However, it is its relationship with Oracle (news, site)  that is keeping most people enthralled. SAP and Oracle will meet in an Oakland, CA, court room on November 1st in a lawsuit initiated by Oracle, claiming that TomorrowNow, a now-defunct subsidiary of SAP has infringed on its intellectual property.

SAP has taken responsibility for any damages incurred by Oracle, but Oracle CEO Larry Ellison  still wants the fomer SAP chief executive Leo  Apotheker to testify  in the case.

And while that in itself will undoubtedly provide some interesting sound-bites, the real fun will begin next year when Oracle releases Fusion apps. The question is whether Oracle’s customers will upgrade to Fusion apps, or start checking out the competition.

In a statement issued with the earnings, Hagemann Snabe, in a veiled reference to Oracle , said SAP believes that their business model as well as their technology will win new markets.

The experience we have gained . . . with customers over many years tells us that they want choice, openness and innovation from their technology partners . . .The opposite seems to be happening as more technology companies want to lock in their customers to a single vendor on one proprietary technology stack," he said.

SAP and Sybase

The importance of the Sybase acquisition, however, can’t be underestimated for SAP and it is clearly expecting great things here.

Just before the SAP deal closed, Sybase released its second quarter figures, which saw net income for the mobile and database technology developer jump by 20%. Revenues rose to US$ 302 million from US$ 278 million for the same quarter last year, representing an increase of 9%.

Now half way through the fourth quarter for many companies, the next set of figures, which will round-up the year should provide some interesting insights.