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Does anyone have a copy of Google at home that they hack on in their spare time? Or Apple? Or Facebook?

I can access Google from home. And Facebook.

Which SAP instance are you suggesting to connect to, would I be so inclined? How would you start creating things for SAP vs. for example Facebook (or G+ now, or the Mac Store)?

There's a set of companies on the one side with broad public appeal and lots of ways to hack and tinker. On the other side you have a behemoth with an army of suits, costing you a couple of limbs for every move - and it's completely useless for the layman.

Note the last statement. If you don't run a business and are in a couple of related positions you just don't care about that stuff. If you are you're probably using and either loathing or loving it. But even if they had SAP in 99% of all companies, they'd still only reach a limited subset of people.

My point was that in no case (Google/Facebook/Apple) does anyone have "a copy" of the core product that they can extend. The developer platforms of each are in a sense extensions to the core products and most "hacking" around Google/Facebook/Apple is related in some fashion to B2C products. SAP also has an army of suits creating B2B products, which makes sense since it is their core market (e.g. B2B offerings instead of B2C).

That said, I completely agree that there are (apparently) higher barriers to entry to SAP and it mystifies me why this would be in their best interests -- I assume in some sense it is the security of the "gated community," where one knows that if one engages a SAP consultant he/she has already been vetted in some fashion.

This sort of approach (which I find typical of Germany) leads to a high average but a real handicap when it comes to innovation. But then again if you are doing something very well it is easy to make money hand over fist and then use that money to buy the latest greatest new sauce once it is ready (which is what SAP has done here with this acquisition).

I need to defend SAP on this subject. While I agree that they are pretty poor about reaching out beyond their own ecosystem they acknowledge this is a weakness of theirs and they are trying to fix it. They've done a lot over the last year or two to try to make it easier to dabble and they are continuing to push for a more open environment for 3rd party developers.

I think arethuza meant something like the facebook developer platform, xcode (iOS/Mac OS X hacking, read: apps) and the Google API's.

I think I probably meant the emphasis to be on the "own time for their own pleasure" rather than the "at home" part of my comment.

Maybe there should be another version of that silly Gartner diagram where the axes are "importance" and "interestingness" - SAP would be high importance and low interestingness .

Agree with the rephrased emphasis and likely placement on mentioned silly diagram. SAP Streamworks was pretty interesting IMO, but I don't think there was any opportunity to engage independent developers. Hard to expect anything like that out of the depths of the enterprise and (IMO) that is a good reason to produce consumer (e.g. B2C) rather than enterprise (B2B) driven apps.

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