America's Latest Software Success Story Is German

When Chevron Corp. chose German software maker SAP over a host of better-known U.S. suppliers to revamp its financial reporting system in 1992, the company was virtually unknown outside Europe. A year later, the $700 million company was No.1 in the world in what may be the hottest market in software: applications packages for so-called client-server networks. SAP's chief rival, Oracle Corp., was so stunned by the rearguard attack that executives published an internal manual on how to counter SAP. "They're giving us hell in the U.S., and we're going to do the same to them in Europe," says Raymond J. Lane, president of worldwide operations at Oracle.

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