SAP will continue to support older versions of its ERP software beyond the official four- or five-year maintenance period, but at a price, said chief executive officer Henning Kagermann.
"There is no unsupported client of SAP," Kagermann said at Gartner's Symposium/ITxpo conference in Cannes.
He refuted reports that the company had dropped maintenance support for its end-of-life products.
The company offers standard maintenance support for its products for four or five years, he said, after which customers can extend their maintenance contracts for a further two years for an additional fee.
"Even after this time, they can get support on a time and materials basis," he said. However, such extended support also comes with fewer legal guarantees, he said.
One product that could soon be nearing the end of its life is SAP R/3.
"R/3 Enterprise is just another release of R/3. It's nearing the end, and this might be the end of R/3, although that doesn't mean the end of maintenance for R/3," he said.
SAP has promised a softer landing for R/3 customers than for users of its predecessor, R/2.
"We can't bring an end to R/3 in the way we did moving from R/2 to R/3: we can't rip everything out. We will take core components of R/3 and migrate them to MySAP ERP," he said.
"We will take core components of R/3 and migrate them to MySAP ERP. This will look different. You will do application integration in NetWeaver and not hard-code it," he said.
Six months to a year from now, Kagermann added he expected the majority of business applications to be integrated using NetWeaver rather than other platforms.
Peter Sayer writes for IDG News Service