The Sizzle Is Out Of Sap

Its Net stumble threatens the software giant's star status

Last autumn, Germany's $5 billion software powerhouse, SAP, was growing at an explosive annual rate of 47% and combing the high-tech world for 6,500 new hires. SAP wanted to reposition its massive enterprise systems, which run everything from accounting to purchasing for big corporations throughout the world, as key channels for buying and selling on the Internet. The goal: to double sales in the next three years and generate as much as 60% of this growth from new products, many of them Web-based. "Our customers want to be connected to everybody," Co-chairman Hasso Plattner told BUSINESS WEEK.

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