SAP responds to Diageo indirect licensing case with “modern pricing” approach

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SAP has moved to reassure customers amidst concerns over indirect licensing fees, which came to light recently as UK customer Diageo was hit with a £50 million bill.

The German software maker announced a range of changes to its pricing policies at its annual Sapphire conference in Orlando, Florida this week, including reassuring customers that it won’t charge or be seeking back licensing fees for customers using SAP data in third party applications.

In a press release titled “modern pricing for modern times”, Hala Zeine, SAP corporate development officer wrote: “As we spoke to our user groups about how to specifically address this, the topic of indirect access repeatedly came up…We decided to tackle this topic first through the lens of pricing modernisation.”

CEO Bill McDernott addressed the issue early on in his opening keynote at Sapphire, saying: “Indirect access is causing some anxiety out there. So let’s tell it like it is. Protecting [intellectual property] and accommodating ease of doing business is a delicate balance. But even as we maintain that balance we can still show greater empathy to you.”

The indirect access issue came about when a UK court ruled in February that SAP's named-user licence fees apply, even when related applications that only offer users indirect, or read-only, access to SAP data.

The verdict saw UK alcoholic beverage giant Diageo told to pay £54,503,578 in licensing fees after its sales staff were running Salesforce applications on top of SAP data.

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