In the fourth quarter sales of software dropped 7% compared with Q4 2007, to €1.323bn. But the company’s net income for the quarter rose 8%, largely due to the performance of SAP's services business, which reported a Q4 2008 revenue of €2.666bn.
Kagermann said, “2008 can be described as a year having two completely opposite halves, where a strong first half performance was greatly disrupted late in the third quarter by the beginning of the worst economic and financial crisis the world has witnessed in decades."
The company’s profits were boosted by the acquisition in 2007 of Business Objects.
Kagermann expects 2009 to be challenging for the ERP supplier. It plans to reduce its permanent workforce to 48,500 staff by 2010 to reduce annual operating expenses by up to €350m.