Paul Scott, head CRM consultant at Axon, a UK SAP integrator, said the decision on Java was a great move for users. "It makes SAP more open than ever," he told CW360.com. "Enterprise users of SAP will not have to invest in third-party products to deliver core business functionality from SAP to the desktop."
Scott said that in the past, large enterprises would have run middleware such as BEA's WebLogic WebSphere to provide processing functionality for SAP users over the Net.
Ian Knight, vice-president of Europe for SAP hosting firm Blue Stripe, said many e-business platforms used Java instead of programming languages such as C and C++. "Having worked both in C++ and Java, I would say Java has the advantage in terms of portability," he told CW360.com.
Nigel Thomas, director of product marketing at SpiritSoft, a company specialising in Java messaging, said: "In the finance sector everyone is developing in Java."
Thomas said he was not aware of any big bank using non-J2EE platforms. The only place he found Microsoft was in specialist areas such as the graphical workstations used on trading desks.
The move by SAP highlights the gulf between Microsoft's .Net strategy and the rest of the IT industry. Java does not appear in Microsoft's strategy, despite major industry backing for Sun Microsystems' cross-platform environment.
Since losing out to Sun in the courts over Java licence infringement, Microsoft has actively sought to distance itself from the Sun technology.
The next version of Microsoft's Visual Studio development suite will not include updated Java tools, and the new Windows XP operating system only provides an old copy of Java.